Aztec Camera – High Land, Hard Rain
Sire/Rough Trade, 1983
Acquired: Half Price Books (Kansas City), Used, 2008
I bought this record because a.) I bought a CD copy of Aztec Camera’s Stray at the LPL book sale and thought it was amazing and b.) I heard that High Land, Hard Rain was their best record and that the single “Oblivious” was their most famous song. It’s funny, on the LP up at KJHK the handwritten review reads “DO NOT PLAY “OBLIVIOUS” UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE” because yeah, it’s pretty much a mid-80s Alternative/New Wave jam. This is a fucking great guitar pop record, full of awesome little guitar breakdowns, sweeping vocal lines, and songs that I want to play on my radio show. Track 2, “The Boy Wonders” struck me immediately and so did Track 3, “Walk Out to Winter,” and every track after that. It’s like classic 60s pop with more drum machines (or drums that sound like drum machines). Although, I can’t help but feel that a lot of these sound like Christmas songs. Not that they’re about Christmas at all, but like, I could imagine a song like “Pillar to Post” being about trying to win someone back at Christmas time. It has that “All I Want For Christmas Is You” feel. Not that that’s a bad song! It’s one of my favorites! I will say though, there’s some of the “Bad 80s” on this record, most notably on “Back on Board” which sounds thin and cheesy. It also has those sort of awful gospel backup singers like the ones Bob Dylan used on all of his records about Jesus. However, this is quickly made up for by the absolutely perfect, short, acoustic ditty “Down the Dip” that closes the record, which reminds me of “Unlisted Track” on Jawbreaker’s Dear You. Also, this record has ten songs, five on each side, which I believe is the perfect amount of songs for an LP.
TOTAL AFTER "A": $44