You And Me Both

Yaz

Sire, 1983

http://www.yazooinfo.com

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/15/2009

This one came as a disappointment. If anything, this second album clearly foretells the quick demise of this British duo known as Yaz. Two years amount to nothing more than a blip on the radar, as any music industry exec worth his salt will tell you. You And Me Both starts out promising enough, with the stirringly elegant “Nobody’s Diary” leading things off. If there is one song that they deserve to be remembered for, it’s that one. It’s far meatier than anything found on their brilliant debut, and therefore, was deemed as considerably less commercial. It proved to be the kiss of death, saddling the rest of the album with the label of sophomore jinx that has been the downfall of many a musical act.

Throwaway cuts like “Sweet Thing” and “Good Times” are so lightweight both lyrically and musically, it makes you wonder if they should have taken more time culling better material. Thankfully, slower fare, from the edgy “Softly Over” and the delicate “Mr. Blue,” balance things out and restore some legitimacy to the proceedings. The fact that the album continues on in the same slow song/fast song vein doesn’t exactly lend itself to a smooth progression, making it a frustrating listen overall. I was left with the distinct impression that Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet couldn’t agree on one tone, so they decided to mix it up. That was the biggest artistic error they could have made.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Having said that, there are a few real standouts that deserve a second listen. Why “Walk Away From Love” wasn’t released as a single is beyond me. I suppose it is because a similarly titled single (the painfully inferior “The Other Side Of Love”) was released in advance of the album and they wanted to avoid any confusion. The latest compilations of Yaz’s work feature the minimalist “Ode To Boy” and the stellar “State Farm,” two songs that initially were relegated to the B-side periphery. If the first half of You And Me Both had been as strong as the second, this album may have amounted to something. We’ll never know how long Yaz might have lasted then. Things could have turned out very differently. Granted, Erasure would have never come about…but then neither would have Alison’s lackluster solo career.

And while we’re on the subject, whatever became of Yaz’s producer E.C. Radcliffe? We know he went on to help Vince form Erasure with Andy Bell, but then he just seemed to disappear into the ether. E.C. certainly deserves a lot of credit for giving the New Wave genre some substance and depth. Hardcore synth-pop enthusiasts will undoubtedly own both Yaz albums, revering both equally on their many merits. Others will be happy with the Best Of Yaz set, which really does have all the key tracks from this semi-obscure duo.

The last line of “And On” is an apropos epitaph for Yaz: “I’m so glad that your life stopped now, before it had the chance to die…” At least they knew when to pull the plug.

Rating: B-

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© 2009 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sire, and is used for informational purposes only.