Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain fate comes in the form of 80s boy band Brother Beyond, and their 1988 album Get Even. Does this album Try hard, or should it be kept a Secret? Read on…
There’s a few editions of this album. The first versions exclude the two tracks which were produced by hit-makers Stock, Aitken, and Waterman.
This CD appears to be the second version.
The 12 track album opens with He Ain’t No Competition and full Stock/Aitken/Waterman regalia. This is pure pop, and would certainly feel at home amongst early Jason Donovan tracks.
Then we’re into Can You Keep A Secret? which again, is another great big bouncy 80s pop track, and a Phil Harding and Ian Curnow production for PWL. This gave them a #56 UK single upon first release, but hit #22 with a remix a year later.
Following on from this is Chain-Gang Smile (curious title), which was released as a single from the first version of this album in 1987. It reached #57. Sadly it’s quite a flat song, although the bass line is quite nice.
The album’s first ballad is Restless, a nice gentle, slow, track, which does slowly build up. Following this is How Many Times, the group’s second single (from the first version of this album), and first charting effort (see video below). It reached #62 in 1987, despite it being one of two here that were produced by hit-maker Don Was of Was (Not Was) fame.
Be My Twin is the sixth track, and is the first of the three tracks produced by the group. This pop gem became the third single from this second version of the album. It reached #14 in 1989, and sits pretty well alongside their other successful singles. There’s even a use of obligatory 80s saxophone.
Next up is their biggest hit, again a Stock/Aitken/Waterman production – The Harder I Try. It was released as a single in 1988 and took them to #2. This song still feels fresh, slick, and timeless (it has a very strong Motown feel to it) and just sounds really nice.
It seems odd to find that this was not a cover, but this is probably due to the sample of The Isley Brothers‘ drums from their hit This Old Heart Of Mine, making it feel like it should be a genuine Motown record.
The second Don Was produced track is next – I Should Have Lied – which was their very first single from the first edition of this album. It didn’t chart. It’s certainly weaker than the later singles, and Nathan Moore‘s vocals here have a wide scale – from his usual higher pitched vocals, right down to a low range – which makes it hard. There’s also what feels like a nod to Chris Rea’s 1986 hit On The Beach (and later released by York) with the guitar hook.
Shipwrecked feels like a filler, although up-beat, and using more obligatory 80s saxophone. King Of Blue is another slow number, and also feels like a filler.
Act For Love (Extended Version) initially feels like something that belongs on a Sister Sledge album. I don’t know where the normal version went, but this doesn’t matter, as the track is quite a nice track, notably a nice sounding snare drum.
Final track Sometimes Good, Sometimes Bad, (Sometimes Better), feels similar to Act For Love musically, but has some nice piano and vocal harmonies.
Where are Brother Beyond now?
After Brother Beyond, Nathan Moore joined Worlds Apart. He went on to star in reality TV shows, and has also managed acts such as Jessica Garlick.
Carl Fysh works in PR, and has worked with acts such as Goldfrapp, Coldplay, and Adele. Steve Alexander continued drumming, working with Duran Duran and Jeff Beck. David White exhibits his paintings internationally.
Sometimes Moore’s vocals remind me of Jason Donovan, and at other times they remind me of Boy George. Essentially this is a great little pop album, and I think that it’s fortunate that S/A/W got involved (they offered their services as a charity auction prize) as it works well together – lyrically, musically and production-wise.
Imagining this album without their two big hits, would lose it a star.
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 4 / 5
- 1988 UK CHART POSITION: #9
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.45 (from eBay)