Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. This time we’re looking at the new Art Of The Album deluxe reissue of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s 1984 debut ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’ from BMG.
One of the iconic albums of the mid ’80s, ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’ was Liverpudlian quintet Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s debut album; rather impressive given the conceptual ambition and slick execution of this lengthy double LP. In addition to strident, urgent funk and dense electro-pop, the group made ample use of, at the time, new technology – making the most of sampling both vocal snippets and ephemeral snatches of seemingly random classical music, result in a scattershot mishmash of different ideas bouncing off each other. It’s a densely layered record but one written with a sharp enough ear for instantaneous melody that it became an immediate hit. Although perhaps a tad overlong, there’s no denying the broad eclecticism on show here, which sees the the band tackle everything from the string-heavy ballad ‘The Power Of Love’ through to covering Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ with no shortage of dramatic, raucous pop in between.
As with the original release, this 2017 BMG reissue is spread over two LPs. While we don’t have an original pressing to directly compare this to, we’re willing to bet that this reissue is on substantially heavier vinyl than the original, mostly because 1984 was a time when most labels were pressing records as cheaply and lightly as possible. This new reissue, on the other hand, boasts substantial weight behind it and good sound to boot. Play is clean and quiet with only the light touch of occasional noise – our copy is also unusually static-free for a new LP, which only enhances playback quality. Sonically the album is sharp and defined; production is undeniably dated (there’s no mistaking ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’ as anything other than a product of the mid ’80s) but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing by any means. Synths have precise, crystalline clarity to them and the funky bass parts really pop out of the mix. Both in terms of playback and sonics, this is a great pressing.
Reissued as part of the Art Of The Album series – one dedicated to investigating the vinyl LP as an art form first and foremost – it’s no surprise that presentation is excellent throughout on this release. The gatefold sleeve is well printed and nicely constructed, with a clear bold spine and a solid feel in-hand. Inner sleeves are good quality printed ones with fairly extensive liner notes, in addition to relevant art; as with any non polylined inner sleeve, it’s worth housing the record in something more protective in the long run but the inners are certainly a worthy inclusion. Also found with this reissue is a an LP sized art print featuring both the front and back album covers in addition to a three page double sided fold-out insert giving in-depth information in the band, their history and recording of the album. This is a really nicely presented reissue and one that certainly offers no shortage of extra material for dedicated fans to reminisce over.
In all respects a top quality release, the BMG Art Of The Album reissue of ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’ is a great way to hear the album.