In the pre-internet era band’s were far more isolated, and were more apt to absorb their natural surroundings. Regional scenes were truly unique, and if one band was ever a product of their environment, then it was surely APB. Formed in the shadow of the Granite City, theirs was a sharp, angular brand of post-punk which was underpinned by a strong funk groove, and the result was a sound that reverberated from their small village of Ellon all the way to the dance floors of New York City. Originally released in 1986, Cure For The Blues was APB’s sophomore album, and while it barely troubled the charts first time round, that seems set to change with this second coming.
It is surely no coincidence that all the best bands are trios; there’s something about reduced numbers which renders a group a tight unit, and this makes them seem all the more powerful. That’s certainly the case with APB and after a brief acapella the band kick in to deliver ‘Crooner’s Lullaby’ a song that should be approached with a degree of caution; it is highly addictive and will make a beeline to your memory bank. It’s a catchy number that’ll have all but the frail and infirm up and grooving (or, at least, anyone with a pulse). There’s a confidence radiating from this album that could only come from a band who know they are onto a good thing. After their solid debut (1985’s Something To Believe In) APB were less risk-adverse and in the true spirit of post-punk, intent on moving their sound forward. The female vocals on this opening track are just one example and add another dimension to an already multifaceted sound; funk, rock, punk, and even jazz are all rolled into one and delivered with an intoxicating sensibility.
APB are often mentioned in the same breath as indie dance rowdies Gang Of Four and Delta 5, but while their peers sound deeply rooted in time, APB have a quality that defies era. In fact, APB were so far ahead of the curve that it took awhile for time to catch up but when it did they were already usurped by those who followed and refined their sound for mass consumption. Franz Ferdinand made a career out of ‘Sunset Song’ while the Herbie Hancock Headhunters jazz/funk fusion found on ‘Simone’ paved the way for Red Hot Chili Peppers to become multimillionaires, yet with hindsight its easy to hear why many were confused by their modus operandi. APB’s was a very nocturnal sound and in a track such as ‘Open Your Eyes’ we can hear the missing link between dance and rock, and on this evidence it is easy to hear why the band crossed over to nightclubs and discotheques. You might expect all this fusion to be impenetrable, yet nothing could be further from the truth and you have to admire its seamlessness. Cure For The Blues flows smoothly and therein lies its magic; it is complexity cloaked in simplicity and makes its dark delights open to all.
There are many reasons to celebrate this reissue; the original artwork, the vinyl repress and a first proper international release should all have music aficionados salivating, but if you want to experience how the shock of he new sounded in 1986, it’s all here in Cure For The Blues.
- Crooner’s Lullaby
- Sunset Song
- Part Of The Deal
- Stop Before I Go
- Open Your Eyes
- Hypnotic Love Affair
- Partners In Love
- Better Life