Artist: The Individuals

CD: "Fields/Aquamarine"

Label: Bar/None


I guess that you'd have to be a bigger 80s music geek than yours truly (and I'm no slouch) to be familiar with (Hoboken) New Jersey's The Individuals. These folks kicked around in the early 80s and managed to drop one full length ("Fields") and and one ep ("Aquamarine") before dissolving.

Recently Hoboken (New Jersey) indie label Bar/None reissued both of The Individuals releases on one CD... "Fields/Aquamarine".

The great thing about the term "new wave" was that it was so meaningless. It was applied willy-nilly to any band that wasn't some thud rock dinosaur or easy-listening-as-singer-songwriter-crap. So let's just co-opt out and call The Individuals new wave.

But this is new wave as smart, bouncy, yet frequently reserved pop (not frenetic electronic dance music). This isn't exactly power pop, more akin to Joe Jackson and the Squeeze. Which is all well and good by me. What makes this an interesting listen 20ish years later is that the songs are not all of a type. You can hear the angular rock influence of Television on "White" (where they also rework the "west is the best" Doors quip), "Johnny's in the Mines" sounds like the great lost Vapors track (... huh. The guitar solo on this track starts off very "Light My Fire" like.. hmm), the "Hidden Track (from Aquamarine EP)" is nicely spiced with quirk and yes the new-wave-as-disco-beat makes a guest appearance on "Thinking Aloud" but it's countered by an out of nowhere saxophone skronk. This CD is a little treasure drove of semi-precious audio gems.

This may not be some great lost masterpiece, but it is a fun and *infectious* listen. There's hooks around every turn of phrase that dig into your brain (as they were designed to do). After my second listen I was reeled in.


The Individuals: