What does it sound like?:
It’s not fair to blame Pino Palladino for all the excesses of the 1980s. He probably wasn’t the first to roll up his jacket sleeves, or wear a matador hat on stage, or think that drums should go ‘ptchoo’ instead of ‘thwack’. But he’s the reason why this bargain-bin classic remains firmly rooted in that cursed decade, along with trimphones, the C5, effective labour representation and colonial expansionism.
Pino’s fretless and flanged bass scribbles through Love of The Common People like a crayon across the face of the Mona Lisa. It wobbles like a weeble on a see-saw. It staggers like a drunk in a bouncy kebab shop. It writhes like an inflatable wraith outside a secondhand car dealer. On the originals of the soul classics that anchor No Parlez, the rhythm sections are nailed down to the groove. They play, they don’t spray. Pino is not so much in the pocket as all over the front of your trousers, like splashback piss from a tin urinal.
Young Paul does his best to find space between the gurgles. He’s also up against the Fabulous Wealthy Tarts, whose constant chatter frustrates his attempts to express himself. Imagine your auntie and her mate catching you reading Penthouse. It puts you off your stroke, but doesn’t completely ruin the experience. Young’s voice is surprisingly weedy, and pinched to inaudibility at the top of his range. I guess we just didn’t know any better back then.
What does it all *mean*?
Sometimes the first version you hear of a classic song become your definitive version. No matter how many more you hear, including the original, they will never surpass the thrill of that initial exposure. And sometimes you realise this is bollocks and some albums need to be buried at the back of the shop, and never spoken of again.
Goes well with…
Blue Stratos and Taboo. A Sierra Ghia 1.6L with ‘Paul and Elaine’ on the sunstrip. White socks and espadrilles. A glace cherry in a Basildon gutter.
Might suit people who like…
not taking themselves too seriously