FV 41458 Sidewalk
Produced by Iva Davies
Released on April 1984
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
FV 41458 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I n the spirit of Rowdy Roddy Piper, I came here to kick ass and chew synth bubblegum for breakfast. At least, that’s what I thought would happen when I queued up Sidewalk on a quiet morning. I never liked this album; it was a bitter disappointment after the promising Primitive Man, relegating Icehouse to the ranks of overwrought also-rans (those whom the breakfast club brats were so in love with for, like, a second). Sidewalk erased any trace of mystery from Icehouse, making plain that the band’s artistic sensibilities were only skin deep. At least, that’s what I remember from listening to this more than a dozen times in the ‘80s. Today, the sting is softened (the future of music no longer depends on the future of Icehouse), and I can appreciate the album for what it is, rather than what it isn’t. Granted, there’s no getting around the fact that “Taking The Town” is a disquieting change of costume since Primitive Man, Iva Davies emulating a gross caricature of the Bowie/Numan school that stoops far too low to win our affections. Then, as if it never happened, Davies shifts quickly into Bryan Ferry’s warm milieu for “This Time.” The result is catastrophic, outing Davies as an impostor who uses past idols to sell his own idle wares. I don’t believe that was the band’s intent, but track placement is awfully important, and Sidewalk shows awful judgment in this regard. Slowly, the album builds a case for itself by returning to the wistful grounds of Primitive Man, a style that might be reckoned as Icehouse’s own. “Someone Like You,” “Stay Close Tonight,” “Don’t Believe Anymore” and “Dusty Pages” are the audible offspring of Primitive Man, and it’s here that some sense of appreciation for the album is fostered. The album closes with a restless dance track, “Shot Down,” whose opening may have caught Eno’s ear (a brief reference to “Mea Culpa” slips in), and the instrumental “The Mountain,” which follows the recent tracks of Roxy. There’s no denying that Sidewalk is a colder, more processed record than I wished it to be, with thin sound that lacks the rich presence of Primitive Man and a vocal vision that lacks conviction. Yet Icehouse’s appeal remains sealed in the middle, suggesting the old magic was misdirected but not irretrievably lost. It’s their least interesting avenue from the ‘80s, but not a place where fans should fear to tread.

FV 41458 back cover FV 41458 picture sleeve
FV 41458 back cover FV 41458 picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. TAKING THE TOWN    3:32
  2. THIS TIME    4:12
  3. SOMEONE LIKE YOU    4:13
  4. STAY CLOSE TONIGHT    5:01
  5. DON'T BELIEVE ANYMORE    5:15
  6. SIDEWALK    4:06
  7. DUSTY PAGES    4:45
  8. ON MY MIND    3:38
  9. SHOT DOWN    4:47
  10. THE MOUNTAIN    4:50

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  11. JAVA
  12. DANCE ON
  13. DUSTY PAGES (SINGLE VERSION)
  14. TAKING THE TOWN (EXTENDED MIX)

    All songs written by Iva Davies

CREDITS

IVA DAVIES -- vocals, Fairlight computer, guitar, oboe
BOB KRETSCHMER -- lead guitar, backing vocals
JOHN LLOYD -- percussion, backing vocals
GUY PRATT -- bass, backing vocals
ANDY QUNTA -- keyboards
Joe Camilleri -- saxophone
The Remy Corps -- backing vocals
Andy Hilton -- engineer
David Jerden -- mixing
Geoffrey Gifford -- cover design and layout
Grant Mathews -- photography

return to ICEHOUSE discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
AUS'L 1984 Regular LP RRLP 1206 gatefold cover, picture sleeve
UK April 1984 Chrysalis LP/CD/CS CHR/CCD/ZCHR 1458 picture sleeve
US April 1984 Chrysalis LP/CS FV/FVT 41458 picture sleeve
BRA/CAN 1984 Chrysalis LP CHS 41458 picture sleeve
GER 1984 Chrysalis LP 206 334 320 picture sleeve
JPN 1984 Chrysalis LP WWS-81670  
AUS'L 2002 WEA CDX 48983 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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