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Friday, 9 September 2011

Record Review – Mark Wirtz 'Lost Pets 2'

Lost Pets 2

The legendary singer/composer/producer/author and now stand-up comedian, Wirtz’ nearly 40-year career continues as he finally completes the project he abandoned in 1979 to raise his daughter (although there’s no indication if any of these tracks were recovered from the old tapes). Following a cinematically swelling, orchestral “welcome”, Wirtz begins with the title track which suggests that, among all his other accomplishments; he may also have been a prime inspiration behind Jeff Lynne’s production style, as this certainly sounds like a hodgepodge of everything from The Idle Race and The Move to ELO and those Wilbury characters! The charming innocence of ‘Sailors Sail, Children Play’ returns to Wirtz’ beloved Teenage Opera days as the king of Toytown Pop (Keith West’s ‘Excerpt from’ was recently selected as the Best Toytown song of all time), while ‘Retrolusion’ is a gorgeous Beatlesque ballad (a la ‘Julia’) that segues into a trippy, synth pop ditty.

Wirtz co-wrote the dreamy, treacle-toffee sweet love song ‘I Need To Fall In Love’ with Bob Lind and it’s an instant Valentine’s Day treat for lovers everywhere and you’ll be kicking up your heels and hitting the dance floors to fist pump along to the heart-pounding glam rocker ‘Sindee’. Gary Glitter…  the Rollers… Mud… The Sweet… they’ve got nothing on dear ol’ Wirtzie!

Not everything works – ‘Hey Lover’ and ‘For Just You’ are just too saccharine for even this old romantic, and ‘Body To Body,  Mind To Mind’ is a brain-pounding, percussive headache, but ‘When I Needed You’ is a catchy-as-hell, bubblegum winner (with a shuffling, disco backbeat that returns on ‘Party Nite’), and the loungy instro, ‘Teatime With Bamford’ will appeal to Mark’s Mood Mosaic fans (despite borrowing a little snippet from Clint Holme’s ‘Playground In My Mind’ to keep the ball rolling). So if you’re familiar with any phase of Wirtz’ illustrious career, Lost Pets 2 should satisfy, being as it incorporates elements of all of them.
Jeff Penczak

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