City Boy – Young Men Gone West

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  • Super Hot Stamper or better sound on both sides of this Arty Glam Rock album
  • Produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange before he hit it big with Foreigner and Def Leppard
  • As far as I know Mr Lange never produced an album that sounds this good
  • Plenty of Tubey Magical richness, which only the UK Vertigo pressings seem to have

Like many of my personal favorites, this is a band that never caught on in the states. I saw them live back in the late ’70s and thought they were killer — they reminded me of a more accessible version of 10cc. They write amusingly witty, clever lyrics and mate them to catchy melodies with lots of pop hooks, all produced with meticulous care and engineered with top audiophile sound.

They might fit in the general category of Glam Rock, owing, as they do, so much to Supertramp, Badfinger, Queen, 10cc, Ziggy-period Bowie and the like, but even as I write that it seems unfair to the band, which had a unique style all its own, worthy of the respect and admiration due any of these artists (well, maybe not all the respect, but some of it anyway). Fortunately for us record lovers, this is their best album.

Side One

Big and clear with Tubey Magic to die for, this is very well recorded pop/rock for those who like their music clever and unpredictable.

Side Two

Even better sound. So big and rich, yet perfectly balanced and natural. (This is a sound I have never associated with Robert John “Mutt” Lange, having played some of his bigger, chart-topping but ear-splittingly bright and distorted albums. Glad to see he once knew what he was doing.)

Great energy too — really jumping out. The monstrous bottom end is solid and tight.

The Digital Apocalypse

I like this band so much I made the mistake of buying the CD of their first two albums. Talk about No Noise! The CD had nothing on it over 8K. It sounded like someone had thrown a blanket over my speakers. It’s so irritatingly dull I can hardly stand to play it even as background music.

It seems that most of the CDs I come across fall into two categories: either mastered with little care and too bright, or No Noised with a heavy hand until they are way too dull.

Oh, and a third one: compressed to death.

That seems to cover about 80-90% of the stuff I come across. Thank god for a good turntable. For those of you without one, may I express my deepest sympathy for your unbearable — to me, anyway — loss.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Dear Jean (I’m Nervous)
Bordello Night
Honeymooners
She’s Got Style
Bad For Business

Side Two

Young Men Gone West
I’ve Been Spun
One After Two
The Runaround
The Man Who Ate His Car
Millionaire

AMG  Review

On this album, the band focuses on the glam rock sound of the mid- to late-’70s (swirling guitars, high-pitched harmonies) on tracks like “Dear Jean (I’m Nervous)” and “The Man Who Ate His Car,” but City Boy maintains its soft rock sound with light keyboard touches and soft vocals on songs such as “One After Two” and the title track. Young Men Gone West has an interesting, albeit uneven, mix of songs that doesn’t have the same quirky, eclectic feel of the first two albums — but it is a worthy effort nonetheless.