Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Orchestral Manouevres Up Your Nose

From 1984, here's Freur and a live version of their astonishing "Doot Doot."

I have absolutely adored this song since the day in the late 80s I heard it on somebody's mix tape at a bar I frequented. So I am thrilled beyond words to finally find this video and see what the band looked like.

Seriously, this is pretty much the only synth pop record of the era that I think really holds up. It's like an aural dreamscape combining the baroque magificence of a Bach chorale with the pop simplicity and guitars of a Buddy Holly song. Only thing keeping it from being an absolute unqualified masterpiece is -- IMHO -- the singer, who has a bit more of that affectless (then fashionable) croon than is really healthy. On the other hand, he seems to be having an infectiously good time in the clip, so I'm willing to cut him some slack.

Anyway, a great song, unjustly forgotten. I would have put up an audio clip of the studio version but I don't know how to link to a zip file (hint hint). In any case, if you want it, e-mail me and I'll send you the mp3.


steve simels said...

Note to self: Apparently posting about a song nobody but you gives a crap about may not necessarily be a crowd pleaser.

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily. It's the first time I've heard the song, and I must admit that I enjoyed it very much.

I can understand why you fell in love with "Doot Doot". Along with the name (who couldn't love a song with a name as cute as "Doot Doot"?), I find it to be one of the most likeable songs from any hair-synth band in the 80's. For one thing, the tune is more important than the synthesizers (rare in a song from a hair-synth band), and for another you can hear the guitar (even rarer).

Incidentally, "Doot Doot"'s main chord progression and the jangly guitar reminds me of a song that I adored in the 80's, "Dance Hall Days" by Wang Chung: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=ernCPFVe8wU. Enjoy!

(Australia's only Sugarbomb fan)

steve simels said...

It does sound a bit like that Wang Chung song, which I will confess to a sneaking affection for as well.

And now I have to go Google Sugarbomb, of whom I (perhaps regrettably) know nothing.

Kid Charlemagne said...

Ah, Sugarbomb, the Jellyfish of Houston, TX!! GREAT band!

Kid Charlemagne said...

Make that, Fort Worth, TX!

Anonymous said...

I was shocked, and then stunned (à la The Rutles), to think that a powerpop fan hadn't heard of Sugarbomb — but then I realised that it's a big old world, and there are plenty of powerpop bands out there, not getting heard.

For example, there are two Australian powerpop albums that I adore: Heading North For Winter by The Wellingtons (2008); and the self-titled debut album by Neon (2005).

Now, I dare say that a lot of the regular readers of your blog may never have heard of either Neon or The Wellingtons. I haven't seen Neon mentioned on any of the powerpop blogs I frequent, although The Wellingtons did get a mention on Powerpopaholic recently.

I know that taste in music is a personal thing, but I think that both the albums mentioned above are fabulously wonderful and eminently listenable, and not just because they're Australian. If possible, try to hear them. If you go to Neon's MySpace page, please play the first track in their playlist ("A Man") as loudly as possible. The same goes for The Wellingtons.

If you do get to have a listen, you'll then be in a decent position to explain to me why I can listen to Heading North For Winter every day for two weeks.

(Australia's only Sugarbomb fan)

steve simels said...


Given that you're posting from the land that gave us Vanda and Young in all their permutations, I will take your word for the wonderfulness of both Neon and the Wellingtons and check them out toot sweet.

Thanks for the tip.

MBowen said...

I kind of like a lot of the synth-pop of the era: "Non-Stop Erotic Caberet" is brilliant, as are several of the Human League singles, and an OMD Greatest Hits compilation is filled with pop gems.

Anonymous said...

Oh the hair, the hair!!! Oi!


Wendy said...

The clothes!!!!!! Ack!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This was a favorite of mine back in the day (but is it synth-pop?):


(Unfortunately, the video ends rather abruptly!)

steve simels said...


That New Muzik song -- a new one on me, I might add -- is nice.

It sounds like The Records with synths rather than chiming guitars, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

OK, "Doot Doot," that's more than one ... plural, right? That would be "dootz" ... Evan Johns and the H Bombs, Do the Dootz.

I got it.

Noam Sane said...

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Original Human Drum Machine!

Pretty cool stuff.

I'd disagree about other music from that era not holding up; just as a fr'instance, Japan's wonderful "Tin Drum" and "Gentlemen Take Polariods" albums are still on regular rotation at Casa Sane.

To quote Carla Bley, music is always good if it's real. Even if it's synthetic.

TMink said...

I enjoy the song, but am not sure that I remember it.

I could have gone my whole life without seeing what they look like though!


MBowen said...

If you liked that New Musik song, try this one!