Review: “Hand Cut” by Bucks Fizz (Vinyl, 1983)

Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the 1983 third album Hand Cut by British pop group, Bucks Fizz. Will this album make you Surrender to it, or should you Run For Your Life? Read on..

Bucks Fizz - Hand Cut (1983) album
Bucks Fizz – Hand Cut (1983) album

The album opens with second single Run For Your Life, which fades in gently. Musically, it reminds me throughout of Fox On The Run by The Sweet, but Bucks Fizz certainly manage to make it enough their own to avoid any trouble. There’s plenty of nice contrasting vocals, and the harmonies of Jay Aston and Cheryl Baker make it sound perfectly like something by their ABBA chart predecessors. The track reached #14 it was chosen originally as the last single.

That’s followed the drum-laden intro of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 which leads us into this mid-tempo song. Bobby G takes the mic lead here, and it’s a bit of a plodder to be honest, but the countdown element in the chorus helps to keep it feeling catchy and structured. Rather than finally getting down to 1, the song ends abruptly.

I Do It All For You is next and it gently eases its way in. The ladies open with some really nice vocals as guitars begin to chug, interspersed with some wonderful bursts of their vocal power in the chorus. The track sounds great, and the bass manages to draw you through the track with great ease.

Next is Where The Ending Starts which by its title alone, makes it sound oddly placed, but that aside, this is Jay’s track. It really allows her to show off her vocals – and she sounds incredibly delicate and perfectly controlled here in this tender and heartfelt ballad. At times, in the harmonies with the rest of the group later in the song, the vocals take on an air of Bee Gees, but it’s clear that Jay shines perfectly here.

Surrender Your Heart brings Side One to an end. The tempo rises back up a bit, and we’re treated to a load of vocal harmonies whilst Mike Nolan takes the lead vocals. The chorus works particularly well, resulting in a nice pop track to end the first half.

Side Two opens with the album’s lead single If You Can’t Stand The Heat which gave the group a #10 UK hit. This song deserved success, as it is wonderfully catchy with the familiar ‘keep out of the kitchen’ lyric. At times, the musical style makes me think of contemporaries Culture Club, but I can’t quite put my finger on a match with one of their songs. It’s a great catchy song, and worthy of success.

That’s followed by I’d Like To Say I Love You, and this races in thanks to some wonderful sounding synths that gallop in the opener. It’s dramatic, almost on a Meatloaf scale, with stadium-like drums and chugging guitars. Bobby G has the mic again here, and he’s flanked perfectly by the rest of the group’s vocal harmonies. It’s a nice catchy track.

Next is You Love Love, which actually saw release as the group’s final single 6 years after the album in 1989. This is a tender ballad with Cheryl on lead vocals to start with, with drums and bass, and the other members of the group joining her for the chorus. There’s some really nice sporadic backing vocal harmonies too, all lifted by a wonderful string arrangement by Anne Dudley. Despite it being such a really nice piano-led ballad, it failed to chart.

Shot Me Through The Heart follows this, and it’s a nice light pop song – starting off with fluttering synths. Once again, there’s some nice bass, and that leads us towards the group’s vocal harmonies. The track does feel like it builds and picks up momentum nicely, allowing for the song to really break into it’s flow by the second chorus.

The album aptly closes with Running Out Of Time, and we see Jay return to the lead vocals. Her vocals sound wonderful as the song slowly creeps in around her. Soon, the energy arrives with the chorus and their vocal harmonies. The song builds perfectly, and we’re given some impressively long-held notes (presumably also from Jay), as this track romps along to the finish line. Perfect!

Bucks Fizz’s lead single ‘If You Can’t Stand The Heat’.

Verdict

Over all, this album is really good, and a great example of a pop group comfortable in their matured sound, despite fierce media criticism.

There’s some great songs here, but I found that If You Can’t Stand The Heat, You Love Love, Shot Me Through The Heart, and Running Out Of Time – all from the second half, were the strongest. Side one is definitely the slightly weaker side, with the song 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 feeling the weakest here, but even then it’s still a pretty solid track.

Bucks Fizz might not have had a load of huge hits on this album, but it really is a great pop listen.

Rated 4 stars - You're missing a treat!
  • POP RESCUE 2022 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 1983 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #17 , certified Silver by the BPI.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a Discogs.com seller.



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