Adam and The Ants - Kings Of The Wild Frontier - Review
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critics' view

Along with what seemed like the entire teenage population of the UK, I was an 11-year-old with white line fever digging “ant music for sex people”. Frankly, I didn’t know what the hell was going on, but who cares? These Burundi-beats seemed to hail down on me from a different world altogether, and I just couldn’t get enough of them. There’s a fairly decent chance I could now, as I could then, sing along word-for-word with this entire album, such was the frequency of my placement of the needle on the record. Following the cult-classic that was “Dirk Wears White Sox”, Adam Ant was determined to take his artfulness into the mainstream, and enlisted the help of Malcolm McLaren to aid him in his quest, even going so far as to pay the former Pistols manager £1,000 for his services. In one of the most scandalous betrayals ever to disgrace British Rock, McLaren poached the Ants (guitarist Matthew Ashman, drummer David Barbarossa and bassist Leigh Gorman) away from Adam, forming a new band, Bow Wow Wow. What a rotter. Brilliantly, the dastardly deed turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Not to be outdone, the bold Adam dusted himself down and enlisted the help of an old pal from his punk days, Marco Pirroni. This, in fact, turned out to be a phenomenal partnership, with Marco’s Link Wray/Duane Eddy inspired power-chord/twang serving as the perfect counter-foil to Adam’s other-worldly music for a future age vision, incorporating exotic rhythms and incredibly striking imagery. Completing the terrific line-up were Kevin Mooney (bass) and the double-drumming assault of Chris ‘Merrick’ Hughes and Terry Lee Miall.

Dog Eat Dog”, “Ants Invasion” and “Kings Of The Wild Frontier” could hardly be any more perfect; the former and the latter revel in the glorious new-wave Burundi-beats whilst “Ants Invasion” retains a strategic foothold in the post-punk camp. Not too far behind these are “Feed Me To The Lions”, “Killer In The Home” and “The Human Beings”, all of which are of the all-time classic variety, bringing all sorts of weird and wonderful yelps, scowls and Native-American motifs to the party. Merely classic status is afforded “Antmusic”, “Los Rancheros” and “Making History” – catchy pop music rarely sounded so appealing.

“Kings Of The Wild Frontier” was, and indeed still is, a thriller from first to last, and stands as one of the greatest LP’s ever created. Warning to retro-fans with an imminent fancy-dress engagement: he wasn’t using Dulux…

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