Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Bram Tchaikovsky
Girl of My Dreams b/w Sarah Smiles


Released 1979 on Polydor
Reviewed by Lawrence, 17/05/2015ce


Nobody really talks about "Skinny Tie" pop anymore. Back in the late-70s there were tons of bands trying to revive the bright, tuneful power-pop of the 60s and early 70s, most of them forgotten, only a couple of bands had one or two hits, one of them was the Knack (of course), and also Bram Tchaikovsky, ex of pub band the Motors...

I'm not saying everything about that kind of sub-genre was good -- many groups were just bar-band rock faking adolescence. But there was plenty room for brilliance, the idea of reviving post-Beatles British Invasion-style innocence but occasionally colliding with Punk's nasty, not-so-innocent irony. Bram's "Girl of My Dreams" was indicative of this but very tuneful at that.

So onto the single. The flip side "Sarah Smiles" is just Motors-style hard rock probably just stuck there as a throwaway, but "Girl of My Dreams" was definitely the best the late-70s had to offer as far as power-pop goes. Everything about it musically is just what was great about the genre, beautiful AM-radio melodies, harmonies, hooks aplenty. Harks back to older classics by Badfinger, Big Star and the Raspberries to name a few, maybe even a bit of the Beatles in there for good measure.

So on first listen you'd mistakenly think it's another celebration of love and finding a girl and what have you. Until you pay attention to the lyrics to find some late-70s dark nihilism attached -- that is, Bram is actually singing about getting a blow-up doll in the mail, making whatever celebration this song is about a bit empty. So it's a single not only extremely listenable but very much of its cynical, facile time, where post-hippie 'free-love' goes awry and sex as well as love becomes commodity.

So this is an essential slab of wax here in spite of how dark it is. The one record that defined the late 70s and so excellently done you can't ignore it.


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