Posts Tagged ‘Postcard Records’

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“You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever” is the debut album by Orange Juice, released on this day (February 1st) in 1982. After leaving Postcard Records and convincing Rough Trade to finance the sessions, Orange Juice ended up signing to Polydor for their 1982 debut album, You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever. Made up of a couple re-recordings of brilliant songs from early singles (“Falling and Laughing,” “Felicity”), cleaned-up versions of songs from the demo, and a few new tracks, the album is a slick, tuneful slice of early-’80s pop that’s catchy and bright, and only slightly overcooked.

Both Edwyn Collins and James Kirk could have retired after this album and been secure in the history books as two of the finest songwriters of the era. Kirk’s “Three Cheers for Our Side” and “Felicity” are brilliantly odd and hooky songs that sound unlike anything anyone else was doing at the time; Collins’ songs are reliably witty, cutting, and romantic with lovely choruses. “Falling and Laughing” is timeless pop, “Tender Object” is a rippingly good dance-punk, his ballads are heartbreaking (“Untitled Melody,” “In a Nutshell”), and “Consolation Prize” takes the prize for hilarity (“I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn’s/I was hoping to impress/So frightfully camp it made you laugh/Tomorrow I’ll buy myself a dress”).

Not too many other folks were writing songs like these, either. Add some excellent guitar interplay between Kirk and Collins and a strong rhythm section to the mix and you’ve got something that seems hard to mess up. Unfortunately, some of the production choices come close to wrecking things, as the tinkling pianos and backing vocalist can come on a little strong at times. The glossy finish given to the album is also a giant leap from the scrappiness of their early sound, though its effects are lessened by the exuberant energy the band plays and sings with at all times.

These criticisms aside, once one accepts that the arty punks Orange Juice started off having fully embraced the sophisticated pop side of the world, then it’s easy to see that You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever is one of the best examples of early-’80s pop there is. That it’s the one and only album the team of Collins and Kirk made before splitting only makes it all the more essential to own.

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Even if you hate every note that Glasgow’s Orange Juice recorded in their early 1980s heyday, it would be almost impossible not to admire their guts. Scotland had caught on to punk late. When it did, audiences steadfastly clung to the troglodytic cartoon peddled by Sham 69 and Sid Vicious. Gigs were big on spitting and violence. There may have been more dangerous places to perform the songs collected on “The Glasgow School” – alternately sarcastic and romantic, invariably limp-wristed, and equipped with fruity lyrics about frolicking in the dew and doting on awfully pretty girls – but you couldn’t have reached them without joining the SAS.

Orange Juice fused new wave vibrancy with sun-dappled mid-1960s pop and disco. Under punk’s scorched-earth policy, the former was strictly verboten, but the latter constituted a flagrant incitement to public disorder. Orange Juice’s three albums, along with compilations of various shapes and sizes, have floated in and out of print throughout the years.

The four singles and unreleased debut album Orange Juice recorded for indie label Postcard in 1980 and 1981 still seem faintly miraculous. That is partly because of their remarkable musical content: there has never really been anything like it since, although not for want of trying. It is partly down to the subversive tang that clings to their greatest songs. The gleeful chant of “no more rock’n’roll for you!” on 1981’s Poor Old Soul sounds like a manifesto.

Instead, Orange Juice became, first, Britain’s hippest band, then bona fide pop stars – their big hit was 1983’s “Rip It Up” – and finally, an influence on everyone from the Smiths to Belle and Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand. The Glasgow School explains why. They were the first band to notice that the Velvet Underground’s agitated, trebly strumming bore a surprising correspondence to both the scratchy funk guitar of Chic’s peerless disco anthems and Northern Soul’s staccato chords. Both songs on their 1980 single “Blue Boy/Love Sick” sound breathlessly thrilled at this discovery: stomping Wigan Casino drums, funk basslines, piercing solos and jangling guitars all fighting for space. Even today, the excitement is infectious.

Orange Juice just couldn’t stop themselves writing gorgeous melodies. The starry-eyed swoon of Dying Day and the dizzy ebullience of Wan Light or Tender Object were strong enough to withstand the cheap studios and the band’s endearingly ramshackle musicianship. The unlikely mainstream success of Edwyn Collins’ “A Girl Like You,” the history of post-punk, or the birth of indie pop. “The Glasgow School”, released in 2005 by Domino Recordings, contains the band’s four singles for Postcard, the bulk of Ostrich Churchyard (a disc released in 1992, containing early versions of what would become 1982’s You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever), a Stars on 45-style version of “Simply Thrilled Honey,” and a crude cover of the Ramones’ “I Don’t Care.”

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For a lot of people, the material here (dating no later than 1981) is where Orange Juice begins and ends. The band signed to Polydor soon after the latest song on this disc was recorded, and they promptly gave their sound a coat of shiny wax — so they helped invent indie pop, only to abandon it before their first album. Though the notion extends throughout Orange Juice’s discography, they were nothing if not fearless. What other way is there to describe lyrics like “I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn’s/I was hoping to impress/So frightfully camp — you laughed,” or their wholly convincing (if occasionally gawky) way of bouncing the jangly folk-rock of the Byrds off the fat-bottomed disco drive of Chic, all the while creating an identity all their own? Both the singles and the Ostrich Churchyard takes are as crafty as they are crude, and if you can’t get past the amateurishness, there’s plenty of winsome attitude to win you over. This disc serves as proof that, along with Josef K, Associates, Altered Images, Simple Minds, Cocteau Twins, and the Scars, Orange Juice helped make Scotland a very productive resource during the post-punk/new wave era.

Weaker tunes would certainly have buckled beneath Edwyn Collins’ unique approach to vocals. A couple of months ago, the website where Grace Collins has courageously documented her husband’s recovery from a cerebral haemorrhage reported that he had been singing again, adding that “his tuning needs working on”. “Grace,” one fan gently replied, “his tuning always did need work.” In fact, you could spend all day throwing adjectives at Collins’ voice on The Glasgow School and still not come up with a satisfactory description. Occasionally, he sounded like a Caledonian Bryan Ferry attempting to croon while balancing marbles on his tongue and stifling a fit of the giggles. Usually he sounded more peculiar than that.

What should have been irritatingly affected is charming. This may have something to do with the words Collins sang. Displaying his famed capacity for candour and even-handedness, Morrissey has never conceded his debt, but he was definitely taking notes. Collins‘ lyrics are rich with the same jaded sarcasm, arcane language and rarefied romantic longing. Striking lines whizz past with startling regularity: “The fun begins as soon as you stop your whining”; “To put it in a nutshell, you’re a heartless mercenary”; “Sorry to moan but it’s what I do best”.

Inevitably, perception of The Glasgow School has been changed by Collins’ illness. For a brief and horrible moment, it looked as if an album intended to reaffirm Orange Juice’s place among the pantheon of truly great British bands might become a memorial for their former leader. Now, with Collins apparently improving, it feels like a particularly potent get well soon message. Pop music needs unique and innovative talent. As The Glasgow School proves, they come no more unique and innovative than this.

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Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice and his early influences.

It would be exaggerating to say that Orange Juice singlehandedly invented what came to be known as “indie” music, but only slightly: for decades, the term was virtually defined by the influence of their trebly guitars, their defiantly anti-rock and un-macho stance, even their haircuts. Frontman Edwyn Collins often professed to be horrified by what they inadvertently spawned, and you can see why. As much in love with disco and soul as the Velvet Underground, Orange Juice were richer, wittier and more daring than any of their imitators: their records – whether the chaotic, life-affirming rush of 1980’s Blueboy, their sparkling hit Rip It Up or 1984’s gorgeous ballad A Sad Lament – are still as fresh as new paint.

Alan Horne was a nineteen-year old botany student with Malcolm McLaren aspirations, was struck not only by the breadth and dexterity of Orange Juice’s reference points, but also by Edwyn Collins’ unique ear for an infectious pop melody. Horne immediately set up Postcard Records with co-funding from Collins and bassist David McClymont, and in April 1980 the single ‘Falling and Laughing’ was released . ‘Falling and Laughing’ began a stream of unfathomably perfect singles across 1980 and 1981, giving Orange Juice nationwide indie success and a music press that almost took for granted that Orange Juice would become massive.

As one of four Orange Juice singles released on Glasgow’s legendary and legendarily dysfunctional Postcard Records, August 1980’s “Blue Boy” was atypical of their early tangled jangle of a sound, but it packed a powerful wallop. It’s a blistering, Buzzcocks-indebted flash of excitable energy beginning with seven seconds of speed-fuelled martial drumming and an opening line that leaves you in no doubt you’re listening to a lyricist of real fluency and wit (“When he spoke, she smiled in all the right places”). Culminating in some fantastically cack-handed and out-of-tune guitar soloing, it’s an indecently exciting piece of punky guitar pop, and as apt a place as any to begin a root through some of the best bits of h Orange Juice. 

A debut album for Postcard Records would be recorded (‘Ostrich Churchyard’) and then scrapped, and by the time Orange Juice finally released their debut ‘You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever’ on Polydor in 1982, the indie world was already moving on, Orange Juice’s sound had already moved on.

With one stroke of his pen, Collins practically gave indie pop music its entire faux-naive raison d’être. “Worldliness must keep apart from me,” runs the chorus clincher to Simply Thrilled Honey. Rarely has a more eloquent statement been made about music as a harbour from the harshness, the impurities, the compromises of the grownup world. “It’s about a girl who tried to seduce me, but I didn’t want to go to bed with her,” Collins said: “I find going to bed with someone you don’t love disorientating.” Dating back to Orange Juice’s earliest days, when they were still the Nu-Sonics, Simply Thrilled Honey is packed with disco-fresh chords and the kind of starchy guitar top lines the Jesus and Mary Chain would later hotwire.

You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever

After leaving Postcard Records and convincing Rough Trade to finance the sessions, Orange Juice ended up signing to Polydor for their 1982 debut album, You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever”. Made up of a couple re-recordings of brilliant songs from early singles (“Falling and Laughing,” “Felicity”), cleaned-up versions of songs from the demo, and a few new tracks, the album is a slick, tuneful slice of early-’80s pop that’s catchy and bright, and only slightly overcooked. Both Edwyn Collins and James Kirk could have retired after this album and been secure in the history books as two of the finest songwriters of the era. Kirk‘s “Three Cheers for Our Side” and “Felicity” are brilliantly odd and hooky songs that sound unlike anything anyone else was doing at the time; Collins‘ songs are reliably witty, cutting, and romantic with lovely choruses. “Falling and Laughing” is timeless pop, “Tender Object” is rippingly good dance-punk, his ballads are heartbreaking (“Untitled Melody,” “In a Nutshell”), and “Consolation Prize” takes the prize for hilarity (“I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn‘s/I was hoping to impress/So frightfully camp it made you laugh/Tomorrow I’ll buy myself a dress”).

Not too many other folks were writing songs like these, either. Add some excellent guitar interplay between Kirk and Collins and a strong rhythm section to the mix and you’ve got something that seems hard to mess up. Unfortunately, some of the production choices come close to wrecking things, as the tinkling pianos and backing vocalist can come on a little strong at times. The glossy finish given to the album is also a giant leap from the scrappiness of their early sound, though its effects are lessened by the exuberant energy the band plays and sings with at all times. These criticisms aside, once one accepts that the arty punks Orange Juice started off having fully embraced the sophisticated pop side of the world, then it’s easy to see that You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever is one of the best examples of early-’80s pop there is. That it’s the one and only album the team of Collins and Kirk made before splitting only makes it all the more essential to own. For many, the album failed to live up to the expectations of the early Postcard singles, and amidst accusations of selling out by signing to a major label there were criticisms of the glossier elements of the album’s production.

It was the year that ‘You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever’ was released that a young Johnny Marr would knock on the Stretford door of one Steven Morrissey, and the Smiths would go onto claim the success that many had assumed for Orange Juice with a not dissimilar guitar sensibility or approach to lyricism. Scores of Postcard Records impersonators would spring up across the K in the wake of Orange Juice’s success.

 

Rip It Up

By the release of ‘You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever’, Collins had culled head-in-the-clouds guitarist James Kirk and drummer Stephen Daly from the line up, Kirk having been responsible for three of ‘You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever’s most intoxicating moments (‘Wan Light’, ‘Three Cheers for Our Side’ and ‘Felicity). Luckily for Collins and his new line-up, a bona fide hit single would follow the next year in the form of ‘Rip It Up’, but the album of the same name was too inconsistent and unsure of itself to capitalise on the single’s top 10 success.

After releasing their first album in February of 1982,Orange Juice were struck with their usual batch of bad luck. James Kirk, whose songwriting efforts were crucial to the band had left; then the label pressed them to follow up with a new album as soon as possible in order to cash in on their fading buzz. After adding ex-Josef K guitarist Malcolm Ross and drummer Zeke Manyika, they headed back to the studio and Rip It Up was released a mere ten months later. The album reflected the lineup change and quick turnaround quite a bit. In the search for material, Manyika contributed two songs with an Afro-pop influence (“A Million Pleading Faces” and “Hokoyo”) and Ross brought a sprightly song he wrote while in Josef K (“Turn Away”), and while they are all good efforts, they don’t measure up to Kirk‘s contributions. Edwyn Collins went back to a couple old songs and revamped them for the album, turning “Breakfast Time” into a weirdly reggae-influenced ballad and “Louise Louise”

For this crumpled Velvetsy ballad, Collins goes full caramel-voiced crooner, as he variously woos and taunts the titular Louise – who seems to be having none of it to a backing of knitted trebly guitars, barbershop harmonies, a shuffling beat and a fabulously fuzzed-out guitar solo. “I’m doubled up on bended knees / Tell me darling tell me please” he begs, despite acknowledging that his melodramatics aren’t clever, nor likely to make her change her mind. “Have a wonderful birthday, dear,” he mopes sarcastically. He also took a song from the very earliest incarnation of the band as the Nu-Sonics and stretched it out into the overly long “Tenterhook.” So far not the makings of a great album, but the rest of the songs turn the tables almost completely. “Mud in Your Eye” is a sweet little soul crooner with heartfelt guest vocals from Paul Quinn, “Flesh of My Flesh” is a bouncy tropical pop song that shows Haircut 100 how it really should be done, and “I Can’t Help Myself” gives the Four Tops a run for their money in the hooks department.

Best of all is the title track, a timeless indie dance classic that rode an impossibly catchy synth bassline, infectious handclaps, and one of Collins‘ best lyric/melody combos right to the top of the charts. Despite these moments of genius, the album is an uneven and frustrating listen that proves you can’t rush a band into making great art. And despite the frustrating nature of the album, Rip It Up is definitely still worth checking out for the moments of brilliance and the overall sound Orange Juice deliver even in their weakest moments.

After the group splintered yet again during the recording of what turned out to be the Texas Fever EP, Orange Juice returned as the duo of Edwyn Collins and Zeke Manyika to craft maybe the most satisfying album of their too-short career. Working with producer Dennis Bovell for the most part, the record sounds great from start to finish. Highly polished mid-’80s pop with plenty of dubby bass (provided by Clare Kenny), inventive rhythms, and some of Collins best vocal work, the record is a sophisticated, diverse, and mature work that easily stands the test of time, even if it was somewhat dismissed at the time of release. Collins also managed to craft an incredible batch of songs that range from the laid-back grooves of tracks like the self-effacing “I Guess I’m Just a Little Too Sensitive” and the guitar-heavy and determined-sounding “What Presence?!” to charging rockers like “The Artisans” and “Salmon Fishing in New York,” with plenty of introspective ballads that suggest Collins was doing a bit of soul-searching at the time.

Indeed, his decision to pack up the band and head out as a solo act soon after the album’s less-than-heralded release seems to bear this out. Titles like “Lean Period” and “Get While the Gettings Good” make it clear, so does the elegiac “All That Ever Mattered,” which sounds like nothing less than a lovesick ode to bandmembers come and gone. Orange Juice may be the group’s swan song that came too soon; it’s also an excellent example of why people still care about the band years later.

Edwyn Collins’ talent has endured the split of Orange Juice and he found another ‘Rip It Up’ on a global scale with 1994 hit ‘A Girl Like You’. 

The Albums

You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever
Rip It Up
Texas Fever

 

Josef K the Scottish post-punk band, active between 1979 and 1982, who released singles on the Postcard Records label. The band was named after the protagonist of Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial. Although they released only one album while together and achieved just moderate success, they have since proved influential on many bands that followed.  Josef K were formed in Edinburgh in 1979, originally as TV Art, by Paul Haig (guitar/vocals), Ronnie Torrance (drums),Malcolm Ross (guitar/vocals/violin/keyboards) and their ex-roadie David Weddell (bass) replacing original bassist Gary McCormack. The band all knew each other from the city’s Firrhill High School.

After recording a ten-track demo, their first release was the “Romance”/”Chance Meeting” single on Orange Juice drummer Steven Daly’s Absolute label in December 1979. They were then signed to Postcard Records, the label founded by Daly and Alan Horne, releasing a string of critically acclaimed singles in 1980 and 1981. Josef K were always far more downbeat and austere than Orange Juice, and were never to match Orange Juice’s commercial success. They were also described as sounding similar to Joy Division but “less doomy”.

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Josef K – Sorry For Laughing

The first ever vinyl release of Sorry for Laughing, the legendary first album by cult Scottish guitar group Josef K, recorded for Postcard Records but destined to become the great ‘lost album’ of the post-punk era. Recorded at Castle Sound Studios (Edinburgh) in November 1980, Sorry for Laughing should have been issued as Postcard 81-1, but was shelved after the band and label boss Alan Horne decided the 12-song set sounded too polished. Perhaps two dozen white-label copies in unmade sleeves exist, and have sold for as much as 1,000 pounds amongst collectors. Josef K issued their second stab at a debut album, The Only Fun in Town, in July 1981 – only to split after completing a promotional tour.

This remastered vinyl-only edition of Sorry for Laughing replicates the original Robert Sharp artwork (a solarised portrait of the band atop Calton Hill, printed in silver pantone), with detailed sleeve notes on the inner bag, and the added bonus of a 12 track CD, the TV Art demos, featuring all tracks from the band’s very first recording sessions in 1979.

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Josef K – The Only Fun in Town

Crepuscule presents a brand new remastered edition of The Only Fun In Town, the influential debut album by iconic Scottish guitar group Josef K, originally released on Postcard Records in July 1981. It was their only album release while together, and while it placed well on the UK Independent Chart, but it received a poor critical reception.

Speedily recorded in a small studio in Brussels, The Only Fun In Town was a defiantly abrasive, serrated long-player in the mould of the second Velvets album, Josef K having already shelved a more conventional recording. Sharp-edged pop singles abound – It’s Kinda Funny, Sorry For Laughing, Revelation– along with rattling Haig / Ross twin guitar classics such as Fun ‘n’ Frenzy, Heart of Song, Forever Drone and The Angle. The Only Fun In Town topped the independent charts on release and remains a canonical post-punk album.

CD – New 2014 remaster comes housed in a handsome trifold digipack with 12 page booklet, and by way of a bonus also features all 12 tracks from Sorry For Laughing, the shelved debut album recorded at Castle Sound (Edinburgh) in November 1980, and apparently abandoned because it was thought to sound too polished.

2LP – New Double Black and Gold Vinyl Version housed in a handsome Gatefold sleeve, and by way of bonus tracks also features several Postcard single A and B sides including Radio Drill Time and Chance Meeting. Side 4 features all four tracks from JoKay’s celebrated John Peel Session in June 1981, including Heaven Sent and The Missionary.

The history of Josef K is covered in 2015 documentary film “Big Gold Dream”, with Malcolm Ross featuring prominently as an interviewee. They didn’t play encores. They were a bit existential. They were dark. They wore suits. And they never recorded anything with saxophones.

Paul Haig – Guitar, vocals
Malcolm Ross – Guitar, Violin 
David Weddell – Bass
Ronnie Torrance – Drums

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Aztec Camera  a Scottish Indie/pop/new wave band was formed by Roddy Frame, the group’s singer, songwriter, and only consistent member. Formed in 1980, Aztec Camera released a total of six albums: “High Land, Hard Rain” (1983), “Knife” (1984), “Love” (1987),“Stray” (1990), “Dreamland”(1993) and “Frestonia”(1995).The band garnered popular success for the songs “Oblivious”, “Somewhere in My Heart” and “Good Morning Britain” (a duet with former Clash guitarist Mick Jones).

The band’s first UK single release was sold in a 7″ vinyl format by Postcard Records a Glasgow-based independent record label co-founded by Edwyn Collins and Alan Horne—in 1981. The single featured the song “Just Like Gold” and a B-side entitled “We Could Send Letters”; an acoustic version of the latter song appeared on a collectable compilation album, entitled C81, that was released on cassette in 1981 through a partnership between NME magazine and Rough Trade Records. Frame, was just aged 16 years, He met Collins for the first time during the Postcard period when the latter was 21 years old.

A second single, also released in 1981, featured the songs “Mattress Of Wire” and “Lost Outside The Tunnel”. Following the two 7″ vinyl releases with Postcard, the group signed with Rough Trade Records in the UK and Sire Records in the United States for their debut album. At this point, the band was officially a quartet: Roddy Frame (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Bernie Clark (piano, organ), Campbell Owens (bass) and Dave Ruffy (drums, percussion).

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High Land, Hard Rain (1983)

When it appeared in the spring of 1983, Aztec Camera’s debut album, High Land, Hard Rain, was an acoustic-driven breath of fresh air. Led by teenaged singer/songwriter/guitarist Roddy Frame, the Scottish band offered a batch of memorable songs that deserved a broader audience than they reached at the time, from the infectious “Oblivious” and “Pillar to Post” to the introspective “The Bugle Sounds Again.” Frame went on to release another five Aztec Camera albums before recording under his own name.

Aztec Camera’s debut album, “High Land, Hard Rain” was produced by John Brand and Bernie Clarke for the Rough Trade record label. The album was released in April 1983 and was distributed in different formats on Domino Recording Co. The album was successful, garnering significant critical acclaim, Frame later revealed that the song “Oblivious” was consciously written as a Top of the Pops type pop song and received a corresponding degree of popularity.

During the recording process for the album, Frame used a different guitar for every song. For the song “Orchid Girl”, Frame explained in 2013—during the 30th anniversary tour that he was attempting to merge the influences of his favorite guitarist at the time,  jazz player Wes Montgomery, and punk rock icon Joe Strummer. In a late 1990s television interview, Frame explained that a “boy” image was associated with him during this era, and that he was annoyed by it at the time, as he was taking his music very seriously—”you don’t want to be called ‘boy’; especially when you’re listening to Joy Division” but he eventually stopped caring about it.

After “High Land Hard Rain”, Bernie Clarke left the band, and was replaced by Malcolm Ross on second guitar and backing vocals. Aztec Camera changed record labels once again for the release of their second album, “Knife”, which was released through Warner Music .

Frame revealed in a May 2014 BBC radio interview that he was not informed of the ownership arrangements of the record deal, stating that he was unaware as an 18-year-old that the record company would own the rights to all of his corresponding recordings.  After “High Land, Hard Rain”, Frame spent a significant amount of time living in New Orleans, listening to Bob Dylan’s album “Infidels”. Upon reading that Dire Straits’ guitarist and singer Mark Knopfler produced the album, Frame began writing songs based on a sound that he thought Knopfler could work with.

Knife (Expanded)

Knife (1984)

Frame signed the band to the WEA record label—at the time his manager was Rob Johnson  and he secured Knopfler as the producer for Aztec Camera’s second album,“Knife”, which was released in 1984; Frame explained in 1988 that Knopfler was very “professional” and efficient during the recording process. Frame’s experimental mindset in relation to music emerged on “Knife”, as the duration of the titular song is nearly nine minutes and synthesizers appear throughout the album. Prior to the album’s release, the band previewed a selection of songs as part of a performance for the BBC television show Rock Around The Clock and the song “All I Need is Everything” received radio airplay subsequent to release. In a 2007 interview alongside Collins, Frame explained further:
He’s [Knopfler] a great guitarist. recording techniques were great—you [Collins] would have liked him, ‘cos that was then, it was quite a thing. ‘Cos everyone was going digital, and going MIDI and all that, and his thing was all about using the right microphone. If you use the right microphone, then you don’t have to use too much EQ and all that stuff, and it was all about that. Yeah, I kinda liked that—the right mic[rophone], the right amp[lifier], the right kind of board and stuff.

Love“Love” (1987)

At the time that the band’s third album “Love”(1987) was created, Frame was the only original member of the band involved with the project; Love and future Aztec Camera albums were written and recorded by Frame under the “Aztec Camera” moniker, and session musicians recorded with Frame on a track-by-track basis.

Frame explained in August 2014 that he contemplated the conception of “Love” during a three-year hiatus following the release of “Knife”. Frame said that he moved even further away from the British “indie ethic” and was listening to the “pop end of hip hop”, Frame wanted to make a record based on such influences and “Working In A Goldmine” the first song to achieve this aspiration.

Frame relocated to the US to record the album—”pretty much against the wishes of Warner Brothers“, who were unsure of his decision-making at the time—and was primarily based in Boston, Massachusetts, and New York. Frame recorded with American session musicians, like Marcus Miller and David Franke, and explained that his audience was “mystified” by the transformation of the band, but he was “too far gone” to care and just wanted to do his “own thing” by that stage. Due to the significant change of musical direction, the album’s first three singles did not make a strong impression in the marketplace.

The “Love” album produced the popular song “Somewhere In My Heart”, recorded by Frame with dance, R&B and pop producer Michael Jonzun in Boston. Frame said in 2014 that the song has been “great” for him, but at the time of creating the album, the song was not “in keeping” with the rest of “Love”, Frame revealed in a radio interview with the “Soho Social” program, presented by Dan Gray, that he considered “Somewhere In My Heart” an odd song and initially thought it would be best as a B-side.

“Somewhere in My Heart” is the twelfth single and biggest hit by the Scottish band. It was released as the third single from their 1987 studio album “Love”.

Frame was asked during a television interview, following the release of “Love”, about the new sound of the album, and he referenced artists like Anita Baker and Luther Vandross. When asked if the album could be labelled “Middle of the road (MOR)”, Frame replied: “Call it what you like. I don’t really mind.”

Stray [Deluxe Edition]

Stray (1990)

For the band’s fourth album, “Stray”, Frame collaborated with the Clash’s Mick Jones on the song “Good Morning Britain”, He and Jones also toured with the band following the album’s release. Jones performed as Aztec Camera at the Glasgow Barrowlands and the Ibiza Festival in 1990.

In a 1990 interview, Frame explained that he wrote “Good Morning Britain” in 45 minutes after a two- to three-hour conversation with Jones in the canteen of a London rehearsal studio that both Big Audio Dynamite and Aztec Camera were using.  In an August 2014 radio interview, Frame elaborated further, stating that at the time he wrote the song, Jones lived near his London home; Frame had visited Jones after recording the song and said to the Clash guitarist, “You’ll either sing on it, or you’ll want to sue me”, as Frame believed the song was so similar to Jones’ previous work.

Dreamland

“Dreamland” (1993)

Frame then recorded the next Aztec Camera album,”Dreamland”, with Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Released in 1993, While mixing the album at Hook End Manor, an 18th-century red-brick building that had been converted into a studio in the Berkshire countryside of England, UK, Frame explained that he waited for a lengthy period of time to work with Sakamoto, due to the latter’s busy schedule. Frame finally met with Sakamoto in Ibiza and both eventually recorded the album in New York City, US over a four-week period. Frame’s interest in Sakamoto was elaborated upon in a latter interview.
I liked what he did when he was in the Yellow Magic Orchestra, and I also liked that album where he plays the music from Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence on piano. That’s where you realise that the atmosphere around his compositions is actually in the writing. Frame’s routine consisted of: working in the studio from the early afternoon until around 2. a turkey sandwich at a deli off Times Square (“because it was possible to get one at two in the morning, and for no other reason”); a cab-ride back to the Mayflower Hotel, where he was staying; an hour of listening to Shabba Ranks; and then bed.

“Frestonia” (1995)

For Frame’s final album under the Aztec Camera moniker, and the last original studio recording for the WEA label, Frame worked with renowned production team Langer-Winstanley, who had previously worked with Madness and Elvis Costello. “Frestonia” was released in 1995 and the Reprise Records label issued it in the US. “Sun” (1996) was the only one song from the album that was released as a single. After the release of “Frestonia”, Frame finally decided to record under his own name in the future and was no longer a Warner artist.

There has been three Aztec Camera “Best of” compilations released: “The Best Of Aztec Camera” was released in 1999 by Warner ESP. that specialised in compilations; in 2005,Deep and Wide and Tall was released by the Warner Platinum series; and “Walk Out To Winter: The Best Of Aztec Camera” , a two-disc collection that was released by the Music Club Deluxe label in 2011.

Since the Stray Tour in 1990, Frame has merged a segment of the Bob Dylan song “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” into “Down The Dip”, from “High Land, Hard Rain”, and this version of the song was played by Frame at subsequent live shows, Around 2012, Frame included a segment of the Curtis Mayfield song “People Get Ready” in live solo versions of the song “How Men Are”, from the “Love” album. In October 2013, a book entitled The Lyrics: Roddy Frame containing the entirety of Frame’s lyrical work with Aztec Camera.