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Maximum Joy

An extra disc of contemporary house/trance remixes yields mixed results, most proving just how disco-friendly the amyl-snorting originals were.

Frankie were the Disco Pistols, a dazzling '80s media/marketing construct which had a brilliant crash-and-burn punk band at its heart.





Like the Pistols, they changed a nation's wardrobe, propelled a 'banned' record into the upper reaches of the charts and splintered into long-term acrimony after two blazing years in the limelight. At one point they occupied both top chart positions and claim to have clocked up more weeks in the Top Ten than The Beatles. Pretty impressive for stridently political pioneers of rock/dance/sex crossover with one of the first openly gay frontmen in pop history.





Dated-sounding drum-machine wallops and dry mid-'80s funk production prevail on this 'best of' retrospective. But thankfully not on the laser-powered hi-NRG disco-metal thunder of 'Relax' or 'Two Tribes' or 'Welcome To The Pleasuredome', where Holly Johnson's thrusting, ecstatic grunts and soaring, Scott Walker-style operatics give Trevor Horn's pristine studio gloss a pumping human heart.





Tracks from the band's second album, 'Liverpool', are marred by swapping Dionysian disco for overbearing guitars. But the audacious cover of Springsteen's 'Born To Run' is a revved-up wet dream of supercharged myth-making, while epic festive ballad 'The Power Of Love' remains both roaringly camp and heart-tuggingly sincere.





An extra disc of contemporary house/trance remixes yields mixed results, most proving just how disco-friendly the amyl-snorting originals were.





Frankie died at the right time, leaving behind a beautiful corpse and the sense of an outlandishly glamorous, slightly out-of-control party imploding under the weight of its own bacchanalian decadence. Frankie says: enjoy.



Stephen Dalton

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