Aztec Camera, fronted by the inimitable Roddy Frame, whose razor-sharp songwriting skills added a whole new dimension to the New Wave scene in the early 1980s. The Glasgow-based band grabbed attention reasonably quickly, first as part of a cassette-only compilation released by the Indie label Pungent Records in Glasgow. It quickly led to their signing by another small indie label, Postcard Records in London and eventually to Rough Trade and their 1983 debut album, High Land, Hard Rain. It got stunning critical and audience response, both in the UK and the US which resulted in several hits from the album, and prominent rotation via MTV.
Looking at the musical climate in the early 1980s, it was easy to understand Aztec Camera’s appeal and Roddy Frame’s success as a songwriter. This was during a period when bands were not only going after social issues (like The Specials and Fun Boy Three) but also sophisticated word images around human values; relationships and day-to-day situations in life as well as issues of a political and social nature, of which there were a lot in the 1980s.
Aztec Camera didn’t have the exclusive claim on the genre, it was being explored via The Style Council, and a few years later by Trashcan Sinatras among several others. But Roddy Frame was an excellent tunesmith and his songs have retained a freshness and energy about them, even some 33 years after their first hearing. That’s always a positive sign.
This concert, recorded on September 9, 1984 for a broadcast by Radio Nacional España in Madrid and comes around the time of the release of Knife and the subsequent tour to support it.
One of the truly remarkable bands of the 80s, whose work hasn’t lost its luster. When you’re good, it stays around forever.
Crank it up and enjoy. It’s mono, but it’s nicely mixed mono.