Revival Idol

BFI60 WPIdol has successfully dug up a thirty year old bottle of peroxide hair dye and used CPR on the contents to create a classic sounding Billy Idol record.

After the catastrophic ‘Happy Holidays,’ Idol’s career was on a knife edge. Fortunately, he pulls back from the edge of the precipice with ‘Kings and Queens of the Underground.’ Idol eschews becoming a cartoon cliche of his past, as the mood here is a little reflective and more reserved.

The LP is more multi-faceted than you’d expect. There’s songs with a flash of flamenco and sensuality, some with a touch of slow, tense doom as Idol’s dusty musical attic is given a spruce by bandmates Steve Stevens and Billy Morrison.

Bitter Pill and lead single, Can’t Break Me Down, are evidence Idol is able to produce pop from his punk and brew up some fun. Energetic, pulsing synths are a prerequisite on an Idol/Stevens track, and their calling card is all over this record, peaking on Postcards from the Past. Where as the rather clumsy title track stumbles with all the deftness of a sixth form musical.

There’s dual PR at work as Idol’s autobiography hits stores just after the record, to suggest the songs are a companion piece would be, well, idle. But when writing your story at 60 it’s hard not to place such reminisces into song.

Love and Glory possesses trace elements of cinematic widescreen grandeur so huge you can see tomorrow’s weather on the far horizon. Impeccably paced, a crescendo is reached via smooth ascendance, with the only place left for Idol to go is full tilt, where Stevens bends his guitar around the holler.

It’s a colossal work of surging energy from an artist whose vital signs were close to flatlining. With his iconic clenched fist, Idol delivers a knockout.


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