Going Deaf for a Living (1980) ***
Fischer-Z's second album is a noticable improvement over the debut, but not so much that I give a damn. It contains their biggest hit, "So Long," a heartfelt lovelorn new wave mid-tempo ballad that made me fall in love with the band when I heard it on Just Can't Enough! vol. whatever, but listening to their albums has made me realize that they never had another song that came close to "So Long," in quality, and the three albums of theirs I initially downloaded with excitement are now a chore: I've got the albums and have listened to them several times, but is this band worth reviewing? Aren't they an obscure one-hit wonder whose best song shall remain eternal on '80s mix-tapes and the rest of their work slide back into deserved obscurity? Thus is the fate of a good but not great band with good but not great songs. This is actually a fairly good album with cute little new wave songs, the strongest material loaded up front and the worst saved for last - the second half is particularly rancid with the ugly "Crank," the eternally plodding "Haters," (gawd, whose idea was it that reggae had anything to do with New Wave, the whitest genre in human existence this side of polka?), and closing off with a pair of ugly psuedo-punk ravers. There's some quite choice material on the first side, however, with the title track and the opener, "Room Service," particular standouts (along with "So Long," of course). In fact, there's little I can complain about side uno. Thus, the band earn the three star grade of acceptably fair. I can get some pleasure out of these neat little new wave poptones when I'm playing the first half, but aside from "So Long," little here entices me back. Have I mentioned "So Long," in this review yet? Yippee, what a great song! The problem with Fischer-Z is that they offer little that competing evaW weN bands like the Cars, the Talking Heads, and XTC didn't do better; they are breaking no new sonic ground here, despite having their own strong and solid identity. Thus, Z-rehcsiF must rely solely on the quality of their songcraft. Which is way too freakin' inconsistent for maximum enjoyability, unlike, say, Squeeze (1979-1982 era only).