The Psychedelic Furs – Midnight to Midnight (1987)

Steve Morgan

Freelance Journalist, aged 55

Leaning heavily into the spotlight afforded by John Hughes’ film Pretty In Pink – a song the late director’s muse Molly Ringwald loved so much she persuaded him to make a hit movie around it – PIP is duly featured on the Furs’ fifth, most-commercially successful offering. Re-recorded, and a Top 20 smash to boot – though 1981’s original is far more daring – it’s of a piece with a radio-friendly, saccharine touch that screams ‘1980s’ – splashy snares, huge choruses and sax solos a go-go.

If that sounds ghastly to those familiar with the gut-punching, yet melodic efforts that propelled Butler brothers Richard and Tim – East Horsley’s finest exports? – to the front of the post-punk pack, don’t rush off yet. There’s still some good stuff: not least the title track, where John Ashton’s understated guitar and some uncommon restraint from Mars Williams on sax offers welcome respite from the kitchen-sink production. 

The band, incidentally, scratched earlier sessions with Daniel Lanois, whose next project was U2’s The Joshua Tree. High-water marks elsewhere come on opening single Heartbreak Beat, Torture and in particular All of The Law, a welcome glance backwards.

Despite breaking the UK Top 30 album chart for the first time, the record’s troubled birth – it was remixed before release – reflects a band struggling with what they’d become. They had success and a new, tasseled leather jacket ‘rawk’ image to go, but it wasn’t a destination, or a look vocalist Richard Butler cared for. “I hated the idea that people would think that was what we were about… it seemed like rubbish”.

Kingston link:

The Psychedelic Furs had their origins in Kingston and played local venues such as the Surbiton Assembly Rooms.

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