Review: “Getahead” by Curiosity Killed The Cat (CD, 1989)

Today’s POP RESCUE from an obscure fate, is Getahead, the 1989 album from the group Curiosity Killed The Cat. Will this album make you purr with delight, or should you put it out of its misery? Read on…

Curiosity Killed The Cat - Getahead (1989) album
Curiosity Killed The Cat – Getahead (1989) album

This 12 track CD opens with the ringing phone of Name And Number, and then the track bursts open with the wonderful soulful vocals of lead Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot and it’s a really nice swaggering track, but is quite verbose and forgettable in the verses. The chorus is definitely the catchy hook the track needs to lift it, and at times I think of the style of later group The Brand New Heavies. The song returned the group to the UK top 20, reaching #14 when released as the album’s lead single.

Next up is Do Your Believin’, again, the track has an easy swagger to it, aided by some nice bass guitar and brass interjections. The lyrics are once again loaded up, this time something about religion, and even a slightly catchy chorus, and a nice mid-section with female vocalists and Mr 80’s Obligatory Saxophone can’t really save this track – musically it’s just nice, but it’s not particularly memorable.

That’s followed by Cascade which opens like some kind of segue between two scenes in an American sit-com. Ben’s vocal delivery of the chorus is really nice, and whilst we’re treated again to excellent musicianship, the track sits comfortably in a middle-of-the-road jazz bar background music. There’s a nice little funky section at about the 2m 10s, which feels like it nods back to a late disco era, but then it’s soon gone.

Second single First Place is next, opening with a gentle synth pad, ushering in Ben’s vocals over a simple ballad keyboard. This is a slower track, but Ben puts in a good performance, allowing him to show off some of his vocal range. Ironically, First Place reached 86th place in the UK singles chart, but it’s simply lacking in interesting moments.

We Just Gotta Do It (For Us) is next, which sees Ben seemingly duelling against a snare drum and brass stabs. There’s a screaming saxophone solo in the middle that wakes the song up a little, but the song seems to be a jumble – almost a jam session.

Electric guitar leads us into Go-Go Ahead, stepping aside intermittently for the brass stabs and piano tinkling. This is a song with about 3 lines of lyrics, again making it feel like it’s part of an idea, but never quite fleshed out.

That leads on to Trees Don’t Grow On Money, which opens with a thunderstorm, which gives way to a funky bass and guitar. This track has a bit more of a melody, although the environmental lyrics stumble about a little, the chorus sounds really nice. There’s some nice deep vocals and returning female vocals lurking in the backing harmonies here, and they work well against Ben’s lead.

Treat You So Well follows this, which feels much more up-beat. The backing vocalists, funky bass, and those brass interjections return, but this song feels much lighter and pop-ish than the other tracks here. This track works really well, and gives them a nice little pop song that really should have made it as a single.

The lower vocals return for Who Are You, and returns us to the more jazzy funk songs that most of the album is full of. There’s some fantastic backing vocals here, though they remain uncredited. The track builds up well, with layers of strings, and piano helping to lift the song as Ben VP does his thing.

Next up is Security Lady, which opens with a jumble sale of instruments before brass pierces through to announce the arrival of Ben’s vocals. ‘All i need is your voice to excite me‘ Ben sings in what is probably the most deflated tone ever. ‘Be my security lady‘ he sings – I guess he could just go shoplifting.

That’s followed by Something New, Something Blue, and this is a nice upbeat song that has some really nice sounds in it from guitar and strings, and the chorus works really well between Ben and the backing vocalists. It again reminds me a lot of a Brand New Heavies or Simply Red track.

The album closes with Keep On Trying which offers us a seemingly more percussive intro with an unnamed female vocalists leading us into the song. Piano takes over with a funky bass in tow. Ben’s vocals are soon in place. Musically it’s a nice track, but like so many, it just meanders and rarely threatens to raise your pulse.

Verdict

Over all, this album is nice but quite dull.

Ben’s voice is wonderfully distinct, and it works a treat in the more upbeat moments of songs – and there’s plenty of choruses and mid-sections that he is let to show off his rich soulful tones, but the album is a mixture of what reminds me of a load of Simply Red or Brand New Heavies album filler tracks.

Name And Number, Something New Something Blue, and Treat You So Well are the best songs here, as they seem to have some energy about them – particularly the latter, which sadly didn’t make it as a single.

Amongst this niceness, there is a low point, and I think that is We Just Gotta Do It (For Us). Musically the album sounds great – the musicians are highly skilled, and Ben’s voice is perfect, but the combination for 12 tracks results in what is almost one single song.

I can imagine that you might find yourself in a restaurant one day and someone is doing a few songs alongside a piano, but the songs are nondescript, slightly sedated and just filling the empty spaces in the background noise. Like a Dido album, it’s just nice, and hard to realise the track has changed.

Rated 3 stars! It's a nice album.
  • POP RESCUE 2022 RATING: 3 / 5
  • 1989 UK CHART PEAK: #29, certified Silver by the BPI.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from a British Heart Foundation store.

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