Friday, June 3, 2016
Growing Up Different - A+B=C (1985)
Vintage Baltimore Music Week continues with Growing Up Different, a band that was founded by two members of Facedancer, a Baltimore band that was popular in the mid-Atlantic in the late '70s (their song "Red Shoes" was a staple on local radio for decades). The big news I have regarding this EP is that I was able to successfully pin a release date on it. Discogs.com claims it's from 1983, but I knew that wasn't true. I've also seen 1984 listed as the release date.
But while researching this now-obscure synth pop group, I came across a Washington Post article from May 1, 1985 that said this EP was due to be release that month. So that definitively means this came out in '85. Mystery solved! (Well, it was a mystery to me, anyway.) Unlike most of my posts, this one has been online before. But it's no longer available, so here it is again -- with a bonus track, no less.
As for this record, it was the brainchild of Facedancer's Scott McGinn and Billy Trainor, as well as keyboardist/singer D.J. Long. As some have said, this was considered ersatz new wave at the time, since these guys were AOR musicians who were changing their style to suit the times. That doesn't matter much now. What matters more is that this band had the sound of the early '80s down pat, but by the time they put this release out the pop landscape had already changed and synth-pop was, like, so 1982.
That said, this EP has got a neat early '80s electronic vibe, reminiscent of the first releases by Berlin, Our Daughter's Wedding, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, and other groups of that ilk. What this group needed to take them over the top, though, was to get a number on the radio, like "Sex (I'm A...)," "Lawnchairs," and "Enola Gay."
The dreamy "Life on the Moon" was definitely their best shot at a hit. It sounds more up-to-date than the rest of the tracks, and it's really well-written, what with its heartbreaking lyrics and myriad of musical hooks. But back then very few acts from Baltimore broke nationally, so none of this was in the cards.
Still, it's not a bad release and it probably deserved more recognition than it got. Their sound might have been dated when it came to the national scene, but in the blue collar, heavy metal-loving town of Baltimore it was positively cutting-edge. I can't think of another Baltimore group like this from that era. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, check out the movie "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" for a taste of what mid-Atlantic culture was like back then.
The track I tagged onto the end of this EP is a song the band placed on the third compilation of local music that the Baltimore radio station 98 Rock put out, The 98 Rock Album, Volume III.
Various Artists - WKTK Presents Baltimore's Best Rock (1978)
Various Artists - The 98 Rock Album (1978)
Various Artists - Music Monthly Music Vol. 1 (1999)
Young Caucasians - Pop Quiz (1983)
Red Tape - Red Tape (1986)
1. Watching In The Moonlight
3. Stare Back In Silence
4. Falling From The Shaking Of Trees
5. Life On The Moon
6. Never In A Million Years (Bonus Track)