Review Summary: We're gonna rock down to where and do what? For questions like these, we turn to Eddy Grant.
[OH-NO!] Eddy Grant has quietly built for himself one of the most impressive musical resumes of any performer of the past quarter-century plus. If you don't know who Eddy Grant is without a bit of help, then we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue --- and before we even get there, you should know who we're dealing with. Born in 1948 in the West Indies commonwealth nation, Guyana, twelve year old Eddy Grant and his family emigrated to London in 1961. It was there young Edmond Montague would join up with grade school mates and form the first successful mixed race group in England, The Equals. A mixture of rock and reggae, The Equals scored a number one hit at home and chart success internationally with “Baby Come Back”
. At 21, Grant was forced to leave the group due to personal health, but he would invest his money wisely by creating for himself the means to both record and press his own music through the establishment of a recording studio in Europe (later Barbados), founding his own Ice Records label and later purchasing a record pressing plant. In addition to creating a strong, successful catalog of solo work (to which he owns all of the rights) Eddy Grant has also worked to increase the audience and global reach of his native music by acquiring the rights to and re-releasing classic Caribbean; particularly calypso, soca and ringbang (a genre invented by Grant, himself). He owns the rights to more Caribbean music than anyone. To help make all this possible, Eddy wrote a few chart-toppers. His two biggest are found on his 1982 epic, Killer on the Rampage
is the kind of song you could use as your personal anthem and nobody would have a problem with it. In fact, you'd get respect. Eddy takes a fighting attitude throughout the verses before delivering the line branded in '80s nostalgia, “OH-NO! / We gonna rock down to / Electric Avenue / And then we'll take it higher!”
If not for the dated synths running over the chorus, the song could be timeless. “I Don't Wanna Dance”
is a rock/reggae hybrid with a thick coat of pop sheen. Dangling hooks from the first line through the end of the final chorus, the track is one that if you'd never heard it before, you could find yourself a new favorite in it . The sentiment expressed in the chorus runs both catchy and genuine; the combination of which encourage repeated listens. The opening duo of “Electric Avenue”
and “I Don't Wanna Dance”
would be the two most successful songs of Grant's career, both hitting number one in the US and/or UK, making Killer on the Rampage
the most commercially successful album for Eddy Grant on both sides of the Atlantic.
[OH-NO!] Far from depleted of musical steam, Killer on the Rampages
forges ahead into what plays like a greatest hits compilation. Bad songs were not on Eddy Grant's album agenda. Instead, he opted to load the record with highly enjoyable pop rock/reggae compositions, well suited for good-time scenarios in the company of friends, or private, casual listening affairs. The third single released off Killer on the Rampage
was the politically pointed “War Party.”
Unwilling to return the R.S.V.P., Grant is resolute to avoid attending this and any future parties thrown in the name of killing. A mid-tempo song with a standard reggae skank, “War Party”
is one of many Eddy Grant songs to convey themes of social and political dissent. “Another Revolutionary”
is a chilled-out ode to freedom fighters in the form of a synth-laden Caribbean ballad. One of the finer non-single tracks, “Another Revolutionary,”
like “War Party,”
is focused on on confronting social strife. “Another Revolutionary / Oh he's fighting for us righteously / But who knows if his bullets and vest / Were ever meant to stand the test"“
The album reaches a late peak upon the opening samba beats of “Latin Love Affair.”
As fine a pop composition as the album's chart-topping hits, “Latin Love Affair”
is a rhythmic excursion into the Brazilian style, as much appropriate for ballroom dancing as bedroom listening. A completely enjoyable song from start to finish, “Latin Love Affair”
demonstrates the ease with which Eddy Grant can go between genres to create his signature hybrid sound. Killer on the Rampage
saves one of it's finest songs for last: “Killer on the Rampage.”
A reggae track with teeth, Eddy Grant combines themes of love and death to create for a tense attack-and-retreat delivery, all while creating some of the strongest hooks on an album that was already overflowing with them. The song is bad, in the good way. A perfect soundtrack for angry strolls while wearing headphones, or riding public transit.
If any songs don't stand up to the bar set by the best of Killer on the Rampage
, it would have to be “Funky Rock 'N' Roll,”
which makes claims to be “Funky in the night and in the day”
, in addition to being “Funky in the most peculiar way,”
but truth be told --- it's not. “It's All in You”
and “You're Too Young”
both possess the pop rock/reggae elements of “I Don't Wanna Dance,”
but with less condensed hooks than the single. Regardless of minor shortcomings, and "Funky Rock 'N' Roll"
, the better tracks compensate for any missteps. With Killer on the Rampage
, Eddy Grant put together a deep 10 track album to serve as a showcase for the two songs he'll always be remembered for.