The original Boomtown Rats had their time and place and that ground to a halt in the early/mid-Eighties, amid Geldof’s involvement in Band Aid/Live Aid. They seemed to be a band who never seemed to know if they were a pop band with a bit of a maverick edge, a rock band with a pop edge, or just another New wave band with some big hit potential.
Always known for their gobby frontman who organised Live Aid Geldof like him or loath him he cuts a formidable figure and for all his faults did some incredible things with whatever talent he had be it one of pop music’s most sought after address books or just a flighty temper people were afraid to say no to but there can be no doubt his band the Boomtown Rats took a back seat for a long long time. Cue 2020 and after some questionable live shows be it good or not so good the Rats were back on the scene. then 2020 and ‘Citizens of Boomtown’.
With a couple of exceptions, this return to vinyl is pretty damn good. The band have penned ten songs that mostly turn up the guitar amps and rock like a pretty convincing take on garage rock via some Bowie and Iggy if I’m being honest. the opening stomp of ‘Trash Glam, Baby’, to the Transformer era Lou Reed -meets-The Beatles ‘Passing Through’. ‘Sweet Thing’, really does sound like Iggy Pop from the ’80s.
The exceptions have to be flagged so ‘K.I.S.S.’ sounds more like a Bwitched song and sits uncomfortably here which is a shame and breaks the flow of what has so far been a really impressive record. Then the other blemish on the record is ‘Rock N Roll Ye Ye’ which makes little sense to me so I’m choosing to gloss over these couple of glitches.
The album does end with ‘Get A Grip’ which whilst a little pompous had me drawing comparisons from some of Alice Cooper’s work with the keyboards and guitar lick joining the terrace chanting of the backing vocals and Geldof runs out of breath on the repeated verses before getting back into that chorus strangely alluring and enjoyable, who’d have thought it eh?
Maybe Sir Bob is letting his hair down and having some fun with his pals and cutting some tunes to fuck with the listener and take things somewhere you wouldn’t expect but I’ve heard the final cut live and used it as an excuse to get out before the masses hit the exits like a pound shop, Jagger, at his finest trying to create a soundtrack anthem about your band fails but I guess with an amount off porter in me maybe I’d hit the dance floor and get down and get with it but not a tune I want to hear over and over but don’t let that put you off generally this is a decent effort. Winner winner chicken dinner the Boomtown Rats are back in the room and the citizens of any town once the lockdown is over go and pick this up and find out for yourself. Give Bob yer fuckin’ Money! it’s been 36 years since he released the last one and the bills still need paying.
Author: Dom Daley