Fine Young Cannibals

Fine Young Cannibals

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Once every 25,000 or so record releases, a voice comes along that leaves listeners speechless. Such a voice belongs to one Roland Gift, the twenty-three-year-old lead singer of Fine Young Cannibals. Neither a chesty soul screamer nor a throaty, sleek crooner, Gift purrs and moans with such casual authority that the ten songs on Fine Young Cannibals seem more like a culmination than a debut.

Naturally, young Roland has had help from some experienced hands; Cannibals Andy Cox (guitar) and David Steele (bass) were in the departed and mourned English Beat. If English Beat fans found its first splinter group, General Public, a startling departure, they're in for another surprise. There's nary a trace of reggae, ska or dub in Fine Young Cannibals' funky, well-ventilated groove. Andy Cox must've listened to a lot of vintage James Brown over vacation; his jangling chords and needle-sharp riffs push and punctuate Gift's husky finesse. Roland's phrasing may be inspired by Otis Redding, but his delivery is unique. Like Annie Lennox, he sounds so comfortable with his quirks that they become sparks of personality.

"Johnny Come Home," the first of a handful of possible hits, showcases Gift's lyrical ability alongside his vocals. Describing an ambitious provincial's sacrifice on the altar of the Big City, he puts Big Issues like urban alienation in starkly personal terms – "What is wrong in my life/That I must get drunk every night." Not that Roland Gift is above love songs: "Funny How Love Is" details a breakup with painful accuracy, while Andy Cox's fluid acoustic guitar deepens the bittersweet tang. Elsewhere Fine Young Cannibals strike a fine balance, noting the subtle ("Blue") and not so subtle ("Move to Work" and "Don't Ask Me to Choose") toll politics and economics take on relationships. That forecast may be bleak, but Fine Young Cannibals displays a healthy optimism that's as irrepressible as the seamless beat beneath it. (RS 472)


(Posted: Apr, 24 1986)


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Track List

View Fine Young Cannibals on Rhapsody


  • Johnny Come Home (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Couldn't Care More (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Don't Ask Me To Choose (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Funny How Love Is (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Suspicious Minds (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Blue (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Move To Work (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • On A Promise (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Time Isn't Kind (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Like A Stranger (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Johnny Come Home - (extended mix) (track not available in Rhapsody)
  • Suspicious Minds - (suspicious mix) (track not available in Rhapsody)




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