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TOYAH: Anthem & The Changeling

"Most people think Toyah Wilcox is just some saucy older woman, who loves to talk about sex and is married to guitar virtuoso Robert Fripp, but back in the early 1980's Toyah was a very big pop star who released two very high quality albums 'Anthem' and ' The Changeling'; mixing pure pop, punk, dark gothic and prog rock in equal measures. "

 

 

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The two albums 'Anthem' and 'The Changeling' really are Hidden Gems and Lost Classics. They are never spoken of when people mention the 1980's or even in rock circles. Maybe it's because they were so eclectic.

 

On re-visiting the two albums, one thing for sure is that they are still just as enjoyable as it was listening to them all those years ago on vinyl and through my earphones marvelling at the 'Anthem' album cover.

 

One thing that surprised me was that the 'Changeling' actually sounded better in the present, than it's predecessor and more popular 'Anthem'.

 

The song structures and writing are very impressive, and one of the reasons is the very high quality of the musicianship from the band and Toyah's powerful vocals.

 

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A reason why both albums still sound good now is that the production is so good from Nick Tauber (Marillion, Think Lizzy, Spear Of Destiny, Venom) on 'Anthem', and Steve Lillywhite (U2, Big Country, Simple Minds, Morrissey, Psychadelic Furs, Ultravox!, Talking Heads, XTC, World Party, Siouxsie & The Banshees & The La's) on 'The Changeling'.

 

Both albums are full of clever compositions, beautiful mood swings and expert time changes, full of epic and dramatic twists and turns.

 

The extra tracks of both CD re-releases are of very interesting and high quality. Made in the days when b-sides and EP's really meant something.

 

Forget your prejudices about Toyah Wilcox, give these classic albums a go. There's something for everyone here and I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

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ANTHEM

 

Released May 1981 on Safari Records

 

Reached No. 2 in the UK Album Chart

 

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Tracklisting:

 

Original LP

 

Side One

   1. "I Want to Be Free" (Willcox/Bogen)

   2. "Obsolete" (Willcox/Bogen/Glockler)

   3. "Pop Star" (Willcox/Lee/Glockler)

   4. "Elocution Lesson" (Willcox/Bogen)

   5. "Jungles of Jupiter" (Willcox/Bogen/Spalding)

   6. "I Am" (Willcox/Bogen)

Side Two

   1. "It's a Mystery" (Keith Hale)

   2. "Masai Boy" (Willcox/Lee/Willcox)

   3. "Marionette" (Willcox/Bogen)

   4. "Demolition Men" (Willcox/Lee)

   5. "We Are" (Willcox/Bogen)

 

1999 CD bonus tracks

  12. "Walkie Talkie" (Willcox/Bogen)

  13. "Alien" (Willcox/Bogen/Glockler)

  14. "Revelations" (Willcox/Bogen)

  15. "For You" (Willcox/Bogen)

  16. "War Boys" (Willcox)

  17. "Angels & Demons" (Willcox/Hale)

  18. "I Want To Be Free" (video) (Willcox/Bogen)

 

Personnel:

    * Toyah Willcox - vocals

    * Joel Bogen - guitar

    * Nigel Glockler - drums

    * Phil Spalding - bass

    * Adrian Lee - keyboards

 

Production:

  • Producer: Nick Tauber

 

 

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THE CHANGELING

 

Released June 1982 on Safari Records

 

Reached No.6 in the UK Album Chart

 

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Tracklisting:

 

Original LP

 

Side One

   1. "Creepy Room" (Willcox/Bogen)

   2. "Street Creature" (Willcox/Bogen)

   3. "Castaways" (Willcox/Bogen)

   4. "The Druids" (Willcox/Bogen)

   5. "Angel & Me" (Willcox/Bogen)

Side Two

   6. "The Packt" (Willcox/Bogen)

   7. "Life In The Trees" (Willcox/Bogen)

   8. "Dawn Chorus" (Willcox/Bogen/Spalding)

   9. "Run Wild, Run Free" (Willcox/Bogen)

  10. "Brave New World" (Willcox/Bogen)

 

1999 CD bonus tracks

  11. "Warrior Rock" (Willcox/Bogen/Spalding)

  12. "Thunder In The Mountains" (Willcox/Lee/Glockler)

  13. "Voodoo Doll" (Willcox/Bogen/Spalding)

  14. "Good Morning Universe" (Willcox/Bogen)

  15. "In The Fairground" (Willcox/Bogen)

  16. "Ieya 1982" (Willcox/Bogen/Bush)

  17. "Thunder In The Mountains" (video) (Willcox/Lee/Glockler)

 

(On the cd reissue, the ending of 'Angel & Me' has been edited. After the song has faded out, the original vinyl version featured an echoed drum roll that resembled the sound of a door being locked - this was absent on the cd.)

 

Personnel:

    * Phil Spalding - bass, vocals

    * Simon Phillips - drums and percussion

    * Joel Bogen - guitar, additional keyboards, vocal

    * Toyah Willcox - vocals & noises

    * Andy Clark - keyboards

 

Production"

  • Producer: Steve Lillywhite

 

 

Although 'The Changeling' has a similar overall sound to 'Anthem', the band's writing took a darker, almost gothic direction.

Tracks such as 'The Packt' and 'Brave New World' take a rather dystopian although still hopeful view of the future, a theme which largely pervades the whole album.