Thursday, 27 March 2008

STEPHEN "TIN TIN" DUFFY: Kiss Me (Mixe Plural)

SPLASH! Sex, trash, James Joyce; are these outtakes from Leonard Woolf's memoirs? The days of effortless (or effortless looking) artpop; strict bubbles of mischief crowning the indecision. Still, Duffy's decision to leave Duran Duran before they proceeded to make fools of ourselves was wise and prescient. "Kiss Me" was a dance hit in 1983 America and not much of anything here despite the pounding sterling efforts of Peter Powell; then some Art of Noise input (J J Jeczalik co-produced) ensured its glide into a 1985 spring top five ("wows are few, frustrations more common") desperate for recent New Pop oxygen.

The 12-inch stands immortal for sex, trash and Joyce alone (or together?) before Duffy enters with his politely confused tones, a Spaghetti Junction Neil Tennant not yet potent enough to scrape the grey sky (but "Wow, I feel so fresh today"!) and how preferable his "barefoot in the snow" is to Fish's contemporaneous dancing stilettoes! He needs her kiss but does he need the wine more, and is his own wine sufficient if he saves too much for himself?

The music chimes with turquiose lustre, its condensed electro-history translating Heaven 17's industry into Paul Haig synth-flute whistles (but then "Big Blue World" came after the original "Kiss Me") and those Duck Rock/Into Battle samples thud like his soul against the bedroom floor plankage. Glamorously provincial in its reddened reserve (who is that woman who suddenly materialises to sing the final chorus?), the song is brought to a traffic light-frozen halt to allow gentle Japanese falls of glockenspiel snow, the music box slowly disintegrating to reveal...a sustained Frankie Goes To Hollywood chord. Little wonder, then, that Duffy proceeded to run away from electricity and towards the Lilac Time just as Van's teenager flees Madame George...and then his train unexpectedly detoured to Robbie Williams' station and he became able to bookend this story.