Review Summary: There might as well have been a message that all 50,000 copies of the EP spoke: "Brace yourselves--here comes the future."
Although 'Oingo Boingo' contains only four songs, each of them is a masterpiece all their own. Released through I.R.S. Records in 1980, this obscure, unmixed EP receives less kudos than it deserves. It was on this album, along with the Demo EP, that Oingo Boingo first left their mark on music history.
Let's go over the songs. The EP begins with the unforgettable "Only A Lad". But it's not the version from the 1981 album, no--this version is slower, significantly more raw, and has a subtle magic to it. There's something about this version of the song that makes it that way. The horns are not as prominent, and the guitars seem more like synthesizers, but it is still amazing. And when Danny starts singing about 37 seconds into the song, it transports you... It gets a 5 from me!
Then there's "Violent Love", a cover of a 1930's song by bluesman Willie Dixon. The song is FULL of '50's rock influences, right from the beginning. Danny's vocals sound exactly like they would on their 1981 record, and the synth-and-saxophone solo in the bridge of the song skyrocket this tune to a rating of 4.0!
There are two recordings of "Ain't This the Life". The first one is on the 10" version of the EP, and it along with "Only A Lad" can be found on 1979's Demo EP. I prefer this version better, and give it a 4.5. The 12" and Cassette version, however, is a little more lackluster. It's faster, the lyrics are switched around a bit, and it sounds even more raw than the 10" version. I have the unfortunate privelige of owning the cassette, but the 12"/tape version is still okay--I'll give it a 3.0.
Everything ends with "I'm So Bad". If you take the juvenile delinquent Johnny from "Only A Lad" and place him in the shoes of the character in this song, you'll be surprised how well they fit--this character might as well be Johnny 10 years later! Oingo Boingo made good use of mallet-type percussion in the tune, and it adds a more eerie tone, building up on the already spooky guitars and synths. It gets a 4.0 from le moi.
And finally, there's the cover art. All the copies of the Demo EP were hand-spray-painted and stenciled. This album's art clearly takes advantage of computer graphics... and then there's the cat. Louis Wain's cat. It looks a lot more like a demon. It seems almost ELECTRIFYING. That psychedelic demon cat, with its jagged red fur and.... glowing... red... eyes...
WAH! WOAH! (shakes head) sorry.
But yes, with the ominous nature of Wain's schizophrenic cat on the cover, the creativity and almost magical traits of the songs, and just the fact that this was one of many albums to come, I am happy to present this little EP with an overall rating of 4.5. There might as well have been a message that all 50,000 copies of the album spoke: "Brace yourselves--here comes the future."