Monday, April 20, 2009

New Wave for the New Week #7

Classix NouveauxClassix Nouveaux

One of the more popular sub-categories of early '80s New Wave was the "New Romantic" scene. Embracing both music and fashion, the New Romantics were direct descendants of the mid-'70s Glam rockers; indeed, Bryan Ferry, Marc Bolan, David Bowie and the like were the icons the New Romantics often aspired to replicate. Think of bands like ABC, early Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Adam Ant and Culture Club as examples of the New Romantic scene who most successfully reached mainstream ears. But there were many, many more New Romantic bands flying beneath the radar.

One of the earliest was Classix Nouveaux. Formed from the Poly Styrene-less ashes of legendary punk wailers X-Ray Spex, Classix Nouveaux recorded three albums between 1981 and 1983; as is often the case, their debut (self-titled in the US, called Night People in the UK) is far and away the best of the three.

In fact, it was their first single, "Guilty," and the corresponding video that first brought them to the attention of the music world. The breezily danceable keyboard pop and nearly gothic vocal style were quite agreeable, but oh the visuals!

It's hard to take your eyes off of singer Sal Solo: tall, thin, pale and bald, Solo underscored his naturally odd appearance by presenting himself as a glammed-up version of Nosferatu. It's a not easily forgotten sight. The overall look of the video would be aped by many a New Romantic to come, from the colorful hazy soft-focus effects to the "Seinfeld's puffy shirt" costumes worn by the oh-so-serious looking extras doing their best Mummenschanz dances. All in all, it's giddy fun, and the song really is fantastic.

And here it is for your viewing pleasure. Your New Wave for the New Week, Classix Nouveaux's "Guilty":

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