Bikini Red

"Hello stranger, don't be afraid.
            I only glow like this after midnight"

Buy Bikini Red on digital download at Amazon

Elektra, US sleeve

Side One

1: Sweet Water Pools (3:32)

2: Bikini Red (3:47)

3: Too Much Love (3:07)

4: I Can Speak American (2:57)

5: Big Brother Muscle (2:59)

Side Two

1: I Wanna Be A Flintstone (2:31)

2: Jesus Chrysler Drives A Dodge (4:01)

3: Lie Detector (3:59)

4: 55-The Law (2:10)

5: All Shook Down (2:16)

6: Waltz (3:31)

UK: WEA (WX117). US: Elektra (9 60755-2)

Produced by Vic Maile

Mixed by Chris Lord Alge at The Hit Factory, New York

Engineers: Ian Caple and Harold Burgen

All songs written by Bill Carter except 'Bikini Red', 'Big Brother Muscle', 'I Wanna Be A Flintstone', 'Lie Detector', '55 - The Law' and 'All Shook Down' by Bill Carter / Tony Moon

January 1987 saw the band return to the studio to record their second full length album, which features one of the greatest opening tracks of all time - 'Sweet Water Pools'. Sharing song-writing duties again with Bill on half the album was Tony Moon of Motor Boys Motor. The MBM album had featured a song called Here Come The Flintstones, and they returned to the theme to concoct a throw-away tune about the cartoon caveman that was to prove to be both their only UK top ten hit and the beginning of the end of the love affair with the UK music press. 'I Wanna Be A Flintstone' got them onto Top Of The Pops and onto the soundtrack of the Flintsones feature film years later. Curiously it appears in the US cut of the film but not the UK version.

Bikini Red ~ Singles

Bikini Red 12"
1987

WEA (YZ 158 T)

Produced by Vic Maile

All songs written by Bill Carter / Tony Moon

 

 

    A-Side

1: Bikini Red (3:47)

    B-Side

2: All Shook Down (2:16)

3: 55-The Law (2:10)

All tracks album versions.

Bikini Red 7"
1987

WEA (YZ 158)

Produced by Vic Maile

All songs written by Bill Carter / Tony Moon

    A-Side

1: Bikini Red (3:47)

    B-Side

2: All Shook Down (2:16)

Bikini Red 12" promo

1987

Elektra

I Wanna Be A Flintstone

12" 1988

WEA (YZ 166 T)

Produced by Vic Maile

All songs written by Bill Carter / Tony Moon

    A-Side

1: I Wanna Be A Flintstone
(Extended Mix) (5:20)

    B-Side

2: I Wanna Be A Flintstone (2:29)

3: Jerry's Electric Church (3:33)

I Wanna Be A Flintstone

7" 1988

WEA (YZ 166)

    A-Side

1: Wanna Be A Flintstone (2:29)

    B-Side

2: Jerry's Electric Church (3:33)

I Wanna Be A Flintstone

Picture discs 12" & 7"

I Wanna Be A Flintstone

7" Promo

    A-Side

1: Wanna Be A Flintstone (2:29)

    B-Side

2: Jerry's Electric Church (3:33)

I Wanna Be A Flintstone

7" Test pressing

I Can Speak American
12"
1987

WEA (YZ 176T)

I Can Speak American produced by Vic Maile, mixed by Chris Lord-Alge

Remix produced by Bruce Lampcov

    A-Side

1: I Can Speak American (Extended Remix) (4:48)

    B-Side

2: Good And Gone (1:40)

3: Twin Cadillac Valentine (3:54)

I Can Speak American
7"
1987

WEA (YZ 176)

    A-Side

1: I Can Speak American (3:08)

    B-Side

2: Good And Gone (1:40)

Bikini Red ~ reviews

Sounds

31st October 1987
By Ann Scanlon

 

IN TOP GEAR

Sometimes good guys don't wear white but, fronted by Bill Carter, The Screaming Blue Messiahs come across like the meanest and darkest of them all.

Back, after a long silence, with dual openers 'Sweet Water Pools' and 'Bikini Red', the Messiahs appear to have fled the madness of the city and taken refuge on safe and starlit beaches.

But that's on the surface only. The post-'Gun-Shy' Messiahs are as obsessed as ever with concrete, cars and homicide only this time their psyche is more deranged, their delivery more manic.

Take the dance destruction of 'All Shook Down', the slow grind of 'Big Brother Muscle' or the effortless rock 'n' roll of '55 The Law' which features Michael Ryan and Jerry Lee Lewis in a suburban breakout: "I didn't like my neighbours so I blew them all away, didn't like my neighbours on such a nice day".

'Too Much Love' and 'Sweet Water Pools' both reek of a similar desire to escape and annihilate, but 'Bikini Red' reveals a sharp sense of humour as well. This is drawn out on the combat Clash crunch of 'I Can Speak American' and more immediately on 'I Wanna Be A Flintstone' and 'Jesus Chrysler Drives A Dodge'.

That said, the song this record is most likely to be remembered for is a distinct departure from anything the Messiahs have done before. It's the closing 'Waltz', a eulogy for Carter's mother and a fine testament to love and life.

The Screaming Blue Messiahs might never get round to wearing white, but their hearts are still beating in all the right places.

Q

January 1988
By Andy Gill

 

Screaming Blue Messiahs: Bikini Red

WITH THEIR LAST album Gun-Shy, The Screaming Blue Messiahs suggested that, with a little focusing, they might easily grow into Britain's equivalent of ZZ Top – an '80s high-tech boogie crew more at home on in-car stereo than living-room hi-fi.

Bikini Red consummates this possibility, laying down the kind of fluid powerdrive they only achieved on the two or three best tracks of Gun-Shy ('Holiday Head', 'Clear View', 'Wild Blue Yonder'). It's the best driving album since the likes of Eliminator and Afterburner, made all the more effective by the slightly off-centre, disturbed British worldview of singer/guitarist/crazy baldhead Bill Carter.

Carter all but lives in his big American muscle car, apparently. It shows. Bikini Red opens with a few words exchanged as you strap in beside him, followed by a few hammered chords of Gershwin's 'Blue Rhapsody', and all of a sudden you're barreling down the outside lane with 'Sweet Water Pools', the G-force pressing you back info the contoured seat. You'll be there for the duration of the album. Even the low-key, haunting title-track (mysteriously chosen as the first single) has the internal sodium throb of the road, with almost subliminal cop radio and siren noises to complete the effect.

It's the uptempo cruisers that really go some, though; things like 'Big Brother Muscle', a pure speed song whose brilliantly discordant screech of a guitar solo captures the white-line fever perfectly. Or the speedball rockabilly of '55-The Law'. Or 'Jesus Chrysler Drives A Dodge' – what a title! – which hammers along regardless whilst first one guitar line goes discreetly barmy, then the other wigs out completely. Lyrically, Carter's devised his own kind of free-associative street poetry for these songs, the street in this case comprised of burnt rubber and blacktop receding to infinity, rather than the picturesque brick-wall of punky photo-opportunity.

There's something about Carter's stridency, however, and that generally hectic pace of things throughout, that summons ghosts of Strummer and The Clash, especially on the medium-paced 'Lie Detector'. But Carter's too indebted to the USA to be that bored with it. 'I Can Speak American' depicts him as a cheerful victim of Yankee cultural imperialism, speaking American "like Charlie Chan, Lois Lane and Superman", whilst a marimba sound bounces around the mix, accenting the song towards Latin America, and Carter pulls out another stinging, metallic guitar break.

It's got hit written all over it, as has the hugely enjoyable trash-culture paean 'I Wanna Be A Flintstone', which comes complete with snatches of Bedrock dialogue, Fred calling for Wilma in his best foghorn roar, and a catchy chorus of "Yabba Dabba Doo Time". Car tunes to cartoons: The Screaming Blue Messiahs have all the essential requirements for survival in the modern world. Strap yourself in.

Rolling Stone

No. 514

3rd December 1987
By David Browne

 

On their first full-length album, last year's Gun-Shy, the Screaming Blue Messiahs came across as the great white hope of British punk. On that record, and on their 1984 U.K. EP Good and Gone, the Messiahs – guided by the neurotic, nuclear-obsessed themes of their dome-headed frontman, Bill Carter – merged rockabilly, dub and thrash into one throbbing mass.

Bikini Red, the group's second album, finds the trio continuing and refining its attack, from the razor-sharp riffs and frenetic yelping of the opener, "Sweet Water Pools," to the aptly named finale, "Waltz," wherein the band engages in a gentle 3/4-time sway. Throughout, Carter's reverb-drenched guitars alternate between frenetic bursts and controlled riffing, harnessed by the rhythm section of bassist Chris Thompson and drummer Kenny Harris. And Carter still comes across as a sort of British equivalent of Pere Ubu's David Thomas when he shrieks out lines like "I need a medicine man to make me feel good!"

In the subject matter of his new songs, though, Carter is taking a decidedly different tack from Gun-Shy. Like any number of British Isles rockers before him – from John Lennon to Bono – Carter has clearly been taken with life in America. In "I Can Speak American," a propulsive dose of demented rockabilly, he boasts of his kinship with "Lois Lane and Charlie Chan and Superman" and even inserts a caustically sung bit of Ella Fitzgerald's Thirties hit "A-Tisket a-Tasket." Elsewhere, in "Jesus Chrysler Drives a Dodge" and "55 – the Law," he revels in symbols of American pop culture, while "Waltz" opens with a recording of an oily Southern preacher. And in "I Wanna Be a Flintstone" – with its thundering "Yabba-dabba-doo time!" chorus – Carter clearly takes delight in lustily pleading, "Kiss me, Wilma!"

This emphasis on American kitsch, instead of the apocalyptic brooding of Gun-Shy, makes for a somewhat less urgent record; there's little here to equal the sinewy "Let's Go Down to the Woods" from the first album. But thanks to muscular production from veteran sound man Vic Maile, who engineered the Who's Live at Leeds and worked on the earlier Messiahs records, Bikini Red is looser, funnier, more studio savvy (thanks to a few sound effects and the occasional keyboard part) and equally enjoyable.

The title track is a jumble of atomic-explosion imagery and double-dealing intrigue; simpler raveups, like "All Shook Down" and "Lie Detector," let the band revel in sheer brute force. Punk influences rear their rebellious head in Carter's John Lydon-like sneer on the thrashing "Too Much Love." Yet despite such moments, and comparisons of the Messiahs to the early Clash, Bikini Red proves that the Messiahs – and Bill Carter in particular – are anything but bored with the U.S.A.

Sounds

9th January 1988
By Unknown

SINGLE OF THE WEEK

The Screaming Blue Messiahs - 'I Wanna Be A Flintstone'

There were quite a few contenders in the frame for Single Of The Week, but all but one were eliminated. Barry White's effort is a beautiful vintage saloon which is only really new by dint of being fitted with a replacement gearbox. As for Belinda Carlisle, she raises the dead but you bought it weeks ago. U2 are 75 percent Godlike but tiresome. Basia and Deacon Blue are thoroughly commendable but the album versions of their singles are better. Test Dept almost nosed it, but, whereas the B-side tickled my fancy, the A limped.

No, though I would normally dismiss 'I Wanna Be A Flintstone' because it's a track from the diamond-like and dizbusting 'Bikini Red' album, it snatches the honours by virtue of a new tune buried here on the flip.

As for 'Flintstone', I always suspected that in quieter moments Bill Carter is a couch potato, and this is a tip-top hoedown hymn to the single greatest role model for family life in the American-speaking world. It's a hoot and far too mob-handed to be branded as some vile 'Star Trekkin' novelty.

For the real goods, flip over to discover further rumination on the all-consuming eye as hitched to a sound the dear old Three Johns would be pushed to match. 'Jerry's Electric Church' skewers TV evangelist Jerry Falwell from poop-chute to laughing-gear on a gleefully plunged dynorod riff. This is no less than he deserves, for probably more than any other single figure, Falwell is responsible for instigating the creeping censorship that besets the Anglo-American alliance. And people send him enormous cheques to intercede on their bahalf with the Commie-bashing Almighty! I wish I'd thought of that particular scam myself.

Unknown publication

1988

By unknown

Record Mirror

16th January 1988
By Roger Morton

I Wanna Be A Flintstone

As somebody funny once said, 'Yeah man, I really dig the 'Stones... Fred and Barney, they're cool man'. *  Well, here they are, petrified in vinyl by another baldhead, the Messiahs' Bill Carter. It's a wihizzy piece of Bedrock boogie, all raw bursts of guitar and silly lyrics, and it's all over and done with in the time it takes to write 'yabba dabba doo'. Slightly more substantial is the B-side's thrust at TV evangelism, 'Jerry's Electric Church'. There weren't any baldies in the 'Flintstones' were there? (Well, there was Mr Slate, Fred's boss at the gravel pit)

* (It was Stephen Wright, for the record)

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