Making Strange Kind of Love

After the unhappy experience of making a debut album that didn't truly represent the band, the guys in Love And Money wanted to return to the studio and make a record that truly told who they were and where they were coming from. Ironically, that meant leaving their own country and setting up in New York City for half a year, far from the familiar trappings of family, friends, loved ones and a decent pint. Working with another legendary producer, Gary Katz, they went into music-making boot camp to create one of the best documents of late-'80s adult pop. The tale continues below....

(The following short bit of Love and Money history is taken lock, stock and barrel--and without permission, but with much respect and gratitude-from The History of Scottish Rock and Pop by Brian Hogg, Guinness Publishing, 1993; pages 264-265. It's an excellent book, and if you can find it, I strongly recommend that you pick it up, not only for the L&M content, but the hundreds of other bands that he documents within it's pages.)

Where the Wets had embraced the Radio 1 factor, and were perceived as chirpily 'playing the game,' Love And Money steered a more awkward course between art and commerce.

"The whole reason behind Love And Money was contradiction," James Grant explains. "Contradiction between good and bad, between upfront noise and heart-rending ballads, between corporate image and me." A second album, Strange Kind Of Love, issued in 1988, showed the maturation of a remarkable talent. Produced by former Steely Dan catalyst Gary Katz, the set revealed Grant's skills as a composer and lyricist as well as his hitherto well-masked vulnerability.

The title song alone enthralls; Grant's delicately sonorous voice flows across its intricate arrangement, and the same qualities appear in two other key inclusions, "Shape Of Things To Come" and "Inflammable." The group had not shed its affection for dance-based material, as evinced on "Halleluiah Man," "Razorsedge" and "Up Escalator," although these were less convincing, as Grant concurs. "It's a good set of songs but we didn't go the whole way. It still clung on to a rock/funk sort of thing."

James is also critical of some of Katz' procedures. "He made me feel I couldn't sing, Some of the tracks we did 30 times and at the end of the day we were dropping in on syllables. Parts of it were really enjoyable--he was a really lovely guy--but in retrospect I've had this paranoia about my voice ever since.

"The sessions dragged on and on," he continues. "It was the record that was never finished. The songs were already a year and a half to two years old by the time we got to work with Katz, so again the new stuff I was writing was moving in a slightly different direction."

It was during a UK tour in support of the album that Grant confronted this particular dilemma. "I was very depressed," he admits, "and was ready to give up. We were doing a couple of nights at the Glasgow School of Art and I sat everybody down and told them I wasn't happy and that things would have to change." Love And Money's answer was an acoustic set which was slotted in midway through the programme. This simple solution galvanised Grant and restored his enthusiasm. "I was getting something out of it again," he states. "It was more honest, more me." The group toured for eight months out of the ensuing twelve and then repaired to Glasgow to recuperate and plan a third collection.

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