Here's a very exciting record by an icon of Female Brutalism, the excellent Kim Wilde. This must be one of the hardest bass lines ever recorded; I suspect even JJ Burnel would have found it un peu trop fort. Extremely salty (no doubt Frankie-inspired) lyrics too.
Wilde's career was notoriously up-and-down, but her early records in particular are so harsh (imagine Gary Numan, but without the warmth) that I'm amazed that she managed to put together a career at all.
Wilde bore the same kind of relationship to the other girlie pop stars of the 80’s that the Mako Shark bears to the species of fish that turn up battered in your local chippy. At her Valkyrie best, her records sound like attempts to smuggle the colossal dynamics of When The Levee Breaks into the soft, peaceful flatlands of the Top Ten.
"Never Trust A Stranger" is typical Wilde - relentless, pummelling, hysterical, it’s about as subtle as the Wehrmacht. Kim was always more popular on the Continent, where she was granted icon status, than at home, and it’s easy to see why a small maritime nation like Britain would recoil at the sheer excess of it all, and demand the pound of tweeness that all the other pop stars gave it.
Her cover of the Motown classic "You Keep Me Hanging On" is equally unforgiving. Actually quite a delicate and subtle song when originally performed by The Supremes, in Kim’s brutal hands it’s encased in a cyborg exoskeleton and permitted to fire molten spurts of treated guitar at innocent passers-by.
"Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love" is a great later single, Boney M transported to Valhalla, tied to a silken bed, and electrocuted with gloriously excessive guitar pyrotechnics. Again, the great thing about it is the way that it just keeps piling on and piling on, way beyond the point where it would have made any commercial sense (the record was largely a flop).
We could do with this kind of icy warrior-queen in the harsh decades that lie ahead, but alas Kim gave it all up to take up organic gardening. I hope she's still got that guitarist locked in the shed.
(Originally posted here)