IMAGES - BITE
OKAY, so they'll claim they can't win and I'll say "damn right!" So they'll say the fact that their Image has Altered was always obviously inherent in their name and I'll say that's a pathetic afterthought because they've never shown the slightest hint of intelligence either musically or lyrically, so no way can they honestly kid us that they premeditated their moniker.
Okay, so they'll call it evolution and I'll say "Piffle, 'Bite' is the typical product of lost confidence, of believing and fearing what all those people said about paedophilia and 'Pinky Blue' and desperately trying to do something about it." So maybe they'll say "Aha, you fell for it, the joke's on you, it's a double bluff!" And I'll just say 'Who's laughing?"
Okay, so maybe they'll say: "You journalists are all the same. You're reviewing the album sleeve, not the album," and I`ll say "what d'you expect? Only someone chronically boring or bored could find anything remotely fascinating to say about this 'Mini-Pops play Blondie' and, anyway, don't try and tell me the mock Richard Avedon cover shot of Clare as Ava Gardner isn't emblemic of the goings on behind the scenes and between these grooves."
So they'll say "Christ! You asked for change, now you've got it you're still complaining!"
Well, I'll say "No! I called for the instant termination of Altered Images two years ago, but right now will do nicely."
Okay, so you'll say "Come off it! Surely 'Bite' can't be that bad?" and I'll have to agree with you. It's the best Altered Images album to date, more acceptable, more in vogue, more nauseatingly calculated than anything they've ever had the wit to produce up until now, but I'm not going for this Altered-Image-equals-progression malarky because, on the contrary, the only movement "Bite" really marks is a move with the times, a smartish keeping instep with those Barry Manilow Of Soul Spandau Boys.
So you'll say "So what's so wrong with opportunism? At least it shows some life stirring in the grey matter, some survival instinct to stave off stagnation," and I'll have to say "It's not the what, it's the how and just listen to this'":
"Bite" pretends to be all grown up because it denies "I Could Be Happy" and says, all worldly wise and that, "Don't Talk To Me About Love". Apart from the mere cosmetic, the Image hasn't Altered one iota, it's still Clare bleating on and the boys doing their half-hearted best Haircut One Hundred Butlins Holiday Camp bit - from calculated coy innocence to premeditated cool is not so much a maturing of attitude as a cynical progression in packaging incidentals.
I don't want to listen to this record anymore - ten times right through is ten times more than enough, but I don't want to dwell on the album sleeve either, so let's look at the centre of the album instead. The spindle on my player sticks straight up through Clare's throat like a stake, which would seem somehow fitting for a product so vampiric in nature but shouldn't that stake be through the heart? Well, you'd be lucky to find any heart in this abomination and, anyway, Clare's no more an ice queen than she is the sophisticate the cover would have you believe.
This is the sloppy sound of a leech feebly sucking off the zeitgeist, not the sound of a villainess going for its jugular juices. Altered Images are nowhere near that clever or crucial, and "Bite" lacks that bite.
Okay, so they'll whine "This is a slag off" and, again, I'll just have to say "Damn right!"