Review: “White Feathers” by Kajagoogoo (Vinyl, 1983)

Today’s Pop Rescue from a fate uncertain, is the 1983 debut album White Feathers by the British band Kajagoogoo. Is this album soft and fluffy, or should you keep it hush hush? Read on…

Kajagoogoo - White Feathers (1983) album
Kajagoogoo – White Feathers (1983) album.

This 10 track LP opens on Side One with titular track White Feathers. A simple pop beat is joined by a bouncing flurry of synths before vocalist Limahl arrives. His voice sits softly amongst this gentle sound, as the song runs along with a foot-tapping pace. We’re off to a great start.

That’s followed by lead single and the band’s biggest hit Too Shy which catapulted them to attention. The song opens with that gentle synth pad before the unmistakeable guitar kicks in. Limahl’s vocals here are perfect – and he delivers the lyrics with seemingly great ease. The fluttering synths alongside the vocals keep the song sounding pristinely fresh as the day it was released. The track rightly hit #1 of the UK singles chart, and has remained an instantly recognisable 1980’s favourite.

Lies And Promises follows this after a flurry of snare. This track gives us a really catchy song with again, a fair amount of pace to it. Limahl’s repetitive simple chorus vocals ensures the catchiness is there, and he’s flaked by a plethora of intricate sounding synths that all hurtle along. The ‘woah ho‘ vocals over a breakdown sound great, although at times sound like ‘Warhol’, but that doesn’t detract in the slightest. It’s a nice pop song.

Next is Magician Man, which has an almost ‘we’re underwater’ sound to it that William Orbit would probably admire. This track carries a narrative of the magical man, which reminds me briefly of The Beatles’ style of song. Instead though, we have something that’s musically fairly close at times to Duran Duran (Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran is on producer duties for the entire album anyway).

Side One closes with the Kajagoogoo (Instrumental) which is a wash of snares, guitars, and tinkly synths. The track plods along nicely, broken up briefly by the band shouting out the spelling of the name of the song and their band’s name. I can only imagine that they made this whilst Limahl was out making the tea.

Side Two comes bouncing in with Ooh To Be Ah, which was the album’s second single. Unlike Too Shy, this one takes a slightly more juddering approach and is less catchy. The synths once again are flawless, but the vocal melody just seems to meander about. Despite lacking in catchiness, the song did manage to give them a #7 hit follow-up.

Next up is Ergonomics, which as we all know, is important in kitchen design. ‘All across the land, it’s made for the hand‘ comes the chorus, and I begin to think that maybe this song is about wanking, but then when the verse arrives, it’s clearly about kitchenware, and was probably a big hit in manufacturing staff training videos of the 1980s. There are some nice almost Kraftwerk moments here, and vocal harmonies too, and whilst it’s lyrically a bit odd, it is at least fairly catchy by the end.

Hang On Now follows this, and is instantly a bit lower in mood. Again, the Duran Duran echoes are here musically, and at times Limahls vocals sound like those of Tracey Thorn of Everything But The Girl. This is a far more mellow song, but it works quite nicely. The song was the album’s third and final single, and it reached #13 in the UK singles chart.

The tempo is back up for This Car Is Fast, and a the guitar chugs away nicely here to simulate the roaring engine of Limahl’s car. The chorus is very simple (a repetition of the song’s title), preceded by some almost comedy percussive sounds (what were they hitting?). Again, it sounds thoroughly 1980’s thanks to an army of synths all sewn together by a nice plodding bass.

The album closes with Frayo, which quite frankly has some funky guitars that you all need to hear, and some big chorus vocals from Limahl about how ‘we are frayo‘ (whatever that is). Muscially this song is a treat as the band really go to town in this one, and it’s a nice booming end-of-gig track to close out on.

Kajagoogoo’s lead single ‘Too Shy’ (1983).


Over all, this album is a great example of early 1980’s pop loaded with amazing synths.

Of course, this album is hugely overshadowed by what became their biggest hit Too Shy, and it’s hard to beat the genius of that song, but the album does at least rival it with lead track White Feathers. Other tracks Lies And Promises, Hang On Now, and particularly Ergonomics are all on the higher end of the rating here – showing off not only Limahl’s vocal agility, but the band’s incredible musicianship which at time is crazily intricate.

Side One is better than Side Two, but there’s no stinker here. Instead there are some more weaker or vaguer songs that just don’t hang together as easily as others – these are led by Magician Man, which is the lowest of these points, and it lacks the energy of many other tracks here.

I was ready to dislike this album, after having Too Shy overplayed and featured on seemingly every 1980’s compilation, and then obliterated by George Dawes (he’s a baby!) on Shooting Stars, and I think the artwork is rubbish. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

Rated 4 stars - You're missing a treat!
  • POP RESCUE 2023 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 1983 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #5
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.50 from a seller.

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