Review – Catch as catch can

There are two things you can do if you’re unfortunate enough to be born into a showbiz household: a) rebel, and become an accountant, or b) swim into the pain, and go into the industry yourself.
However, if you do the former, you’re told you’re quitter, and do the latter, you’re accused of nepotism! So how can you win? Simple. Make good ‘all rounder’ records like Kim Wilde does.
There’s something for everyone on this album, from the toe tapping ex-single ‘Love Blonde’, to the exotic and eastern-flavoured ‘House of Salome’, although it might be wise to wheel Granny out of the room for the current single, ‘Dancing in the dark’ on the first track of side two, as the lyric’s morality is open to question.
Still, brother Ricky (Phil Spector) Wilde keep churning out the hits, showing a constantly changing style and no two songs are the same.
Kim herself retains her ‘young and snotty’ voice, which sounds at times like a sex-changed Michael Jackson, particularly on the hot and funky ‘Back street Joe’, which has some very Jacksonish bits to it, although it is still very much Eighties pop.
The overall picture is of a mature and superior sounding Ms Wilde, who can take a lengthy holiday from the music business, and still come back with an album that stands as an object lesson in the production of pop music to every Clearasil case with a synth and a Woolies guitar.
Still, you can go just so far when embracing the horrors of your family’s ‘business’ (as the Mafia say); ‘Sparks’ on side two comes dangerously close to sounding like good old Cliff (National Pop Institution) Richard himself…
(4 out of 5, “worth scratching”)