AMAZING BLONDEL: BAD DREAMS (1976)
1) Give Me A Chance; 2) Big Boy; 3) One Bad Dream; 4) Until I See You Again; 5) It's Got To Be A Girl; 6) I'll Go The Way I Came; 7) Wait For The Day; 8) Liberty Bell; 9) The Man That I Am; 10) Call It A Night.
At least this time around, the title is much more appropriate (which I could not say about the front sleeve — is the webbed duck foot sticking out of the cuff link supposed to self-ironically symbolize the band's regressive evolution? Or is it merely some sort of a Burroughsian flash, conjured at the last moment to give the record a little mystique at least in terms of visual appearance?). The entire record is, indeed, a series of bad dreams — not nightmares, which could at least be memorable; just one icky mental turd after another.
The Big Change, this time around, is that Blondel no longer stick exclusively to soft-rock (although it is still their major style of expression): now they turn their attention to contemporary dance music, which, for the Europe 1976, means smooth, desensualized, cleaned up pre-disco funk grooves ('Big Boy', 'The Man That I Am') or horns-and-piano-driven uptempo pop ('Call It A Night', clearly written under the influence of one too many listens to ELO's recent hits; 'I'll Go The Way I Came'). And when they do not, it's sugar time again — more dippy ballads that do not offer anything besides dippiness ('Give Me A Chance', etc.).
Basically, with Bad Dreams the band confirmed its death sentence. By swearing allegiance to mainstream pop mechanisms and aligning themselves with the Bee Gees, the band lost its final fans from the old days — yet, naturally, was unable to procure any new ones, because who needs Eddie Baird providing the market with third-rate expendable dance grooves when you can have those right out of the hands of true giants? You really need to be a huge fan of the Seventies, and I mean huge — one who takes pleasure in amassing giant collections of all the generic crap that legions of long-haired, blue-eyed, bare-chested, sandal-wearing, coke-snorting young people put out in that decade, forever devolving the currency value of such notions as «sincerity» and «romance» — like I said, a huge fan of that vast marshy territory in order to even notice Bad Dreams in that collection, let alone evaluate it on its own terms.
The best thing Blondel could do under the circumstances was retire, or, at least, retire the name; fortunately, that is exactly what they did when it turned out that Bad Dreams sold almost literally fewer copies than there are fingers on that duck foot. There are some rumors that both Wincott and Baird went on to have solo careers after that; I only know of one solo Baird album, called Hard Graft and also released in 1976, a date which does not make me overtly hopeful. As it is, at the time being Bad Dreams seemed to have closed the book on the Amazing Blondel story in tragic mode, with all the noble protagonists of the novel either metaphorically dead or figuratively pwned. But the story does not end here.
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