ARTIST: Altered Images
TITLE: Happy Birthday
YEAR RELEASED: 1981
CHART ACTION: #26 UK
SINGLES: A Days Wait, Happy Birthday (#2 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only the big single hit any airplay in the US
LINEUP: Claire Grogan, Michael Anderson, Tony McDaid, Johnny McElhone, Jim McKinven
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Scottish band’s first album belies its cutie-pie image with a dark, brooding album (except for the title cut) that is rather meandering and boring, to be honest.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While their debut single “Dead Pop Stars” was kind of dark, their single “Happy Birthday” definitely was a blast of sunshine and good times. But when it came for the album, they changed from Martin Rushert to Steve Serverin (of Siouxsie and the Banshees fame) and rather much molded an album that had a lot more to do with that group than the sunshine cast out by “Happy Birthday”.
The result is incongruous. Some of the tracks work pretty well in the gloom, but it’s off putting at times – and boring. The production seemingly mutes the band, leaving a murk where it should be shine. There are melodies and riffs and hooks somewhere, but they can’t escape.
There are a few cuts I’m exiling, and the intro and outro versions of the title track are superfluous. It’s just disappointing to my ears.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: They did support Siouxsie and the Banshees on a tour in 1980.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: C+: I’m disappointed, really. I don’t think their strength was in moody goth-esque tunes.