RAREBIRD'S

Spotlight Album Review #15

Reviewed on this page:

During the earlier years of the original existence of the Police -- from 1978 to 1980, to be exact -- drummer Stewart Copeland recorded more than a dozen songs for his one-man side project called Klark Kent. Under this pseudonym, Copeland released two 1978 singles ("Don't Care" and "Too Kool To Kalypso") and an eight-song 1980 EP called Klark Kent: Music Madness From The Kinetic Kid. The EP featured a silly fictional bio of Copeland's alter ego on the back cover, and was packaged with a sticker which warned that the vinyl record inside would turn green and shrink to ten inches if exposed to light. Inside was a 10-inch disc pressed in green vinyl. This ought to provide a hint about the bizarre but amusing sense of humor that Copeland indulged in on his own time while the Police grew increasingly arty and commercial. Of course, it wasn't long before Klark Kent's secret identity was revealed, and Copeland put the character to bed. In 1995, a Klark Kent compilation called Kollected Works was released on I.R.S. Records, the label founded by Copeland's brother Miles. That label is now defunct, and the Klark Kent oeuvre is now out of print.




Kollected Works compiles almost every Klark Kent recording, including 12 songs that were released and three that previously weren't. (The song "Guerilla" from the 1980 EP is included as a hidden bonus track at the end. The only known track that is missing is "Yo Ho Ho", a song released on the 1990 various artists holiday CD Just In Time For Christmas). Copeland played all of the instruments on all of the songs. While these songs often bear an instrumental resemblance to those on the first three Police albums, sharing many of the same reggae and ska stylings, Copeland's comically flat vocals and warped humor make it quite a different listening experience. If you can imagine an entire set of songs on the order of "On Any Other Day" from Regatta De Blanc, you'll have a good idea of what to expect. Many of the songs sound like new wave parodies that Sting would probably never touch. "Don't Care" pokes fun at the punk attitude, with Copeland declaring: "If you don't like my arrogance you can suck my socks!". "Ritch In A Ditch" is a lighthearted take on punk rock's working-class mentality. "Away From Home" is an amusingly goofy and memorably catchy song about a guy who has just moved out of his parents' house and into an apartment he can't afford. Instrumentals such as "Grandelinquent" and "Theme For Kinetic Ritual" may be easier for the average listener to take, even when Copeland plays with a kazoo at the end of the latter. Klark Kent may not be for every taste, but Kollected Works is recommended listening for Police fanatics, new wave connoisseurs, and lovers of novelty records -- in about that order.

Track Listing:

1. Too Kool To Kalypso
2. Strange Things Happen (previously unreleased)
3. Thrills
4. Excesses
5. Love Lessons (previously unreleased)
6. Office Girls
7. Away From Home
8. Don't Care
9. Grandelinquent
10. My Old School
11. Ritch In A Ditch
12. Theme For Kinetic Ritual
13. Stay Ready (previously unreleased)
14. Office Talk
Guerilla (hidden bonus track)




Original releases by Klark Kent:



Klark Kent: Music Madness From The Kinetic Kid (EP)
(I.R.S. SP 70600) 1980
Released in Japan as Klerk Kant (A&M C28Y3136)

Track Listing:

1. Don't Care
2. Away From Home
3. Ritch In A Ditch
4. Grandelinquent
5. Guerilla
6. My Old School
7. Excesses
8. Theme For Kinetic Ritual


Singles:



"Don't Care" (b/w "Thrills" and "Office Girls")
(A&M AMS 7376) 1978






"Too Kool To Kalypso" (b/w "Theme For Kinetic Ritual")
(A&M AMS 7390) 1978






"Away From Home" (b/w "Office Talk")
(A&M AMS 7532) 1980



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#1: Sigur Ros - "Von" (1997)

#2: Various Artists - "Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea" (1981)

#3: Gerry Goffin - "It Ain't Exactly Entertainment" (1973)

#4: Graces - "Perfect View" (1989)

#5: Genesis - "Calling All Stations" (1997)

#6: hindu love gods (1990)

#7: Various Artists - "Message To Love: The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970" (1996)

#8: Distractions - "Nobody's Perfect" (1980)

#9: Deconstruction (1994)

#10: Juicy Groove - "First Taste" (1978)

#11: Emmylou Harris - "Gliding Bird" (1969)

#12: Various Artists - "Beyond The Wildwood: A Tribute To Syd Barrett" (1987)

#13: Candy - "Whatever Happened To Fun..." (1985)

#14: RTZ - "Return To Zero" (1991)

#16: Various Artists - "Rainy Day" (1984)

#17: Alex Chilton - "1970" (1996)

#18: Feist - "Monarch Lay Your Jewelled Head Down" (1999)

#19: Attila (1970)

#20: Slipknot - "Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat." (1996)

#21: Eyes Adrift (2002)

#22: Stoney and Meatloaf (1971)

#23: Elliott Murphy - "Aquashow" (1973)

#24: Evanescence - "Origin" (2000)