Sunday 18 March 2012

JFK & The Cuban Crisis - Am I A Pagan? 7" Two Possibilities 13274, 1981

We've spoken before about the relative placement of the powerpop protagonist and the distant object of their desire. John (Francis) Kennedy was unable to lift himself from worshipping the ground upon which his gal walked, thus prompting his question to himself in the song title, which we've always shortened to Am I Pagan?

Kennedy was a bouff-haired (but, unfortunately, not boof-headed) popster who plied a trade in earnest Elvis Costello influenced pop in Brisbane from 1980 to 1982. The vehicle was his first band, JFK and the Cuban Crisis, with school friend James Paterson. Paterson, in a contemporary piece in X-Change fanzine, pitched the band as inhabiting a space in Brisbane between "new wave jukeboxes and arty, underground bands". Talk about missing the point, or at the very least, placing yourself on the wrong side of history.

Their first release was a cassette called Over The Underpass + Under The Overpass... (hear a version of Juliet Jones from that here). Then there was this. All mealy-mouthed piss-taking aside, we're featuring it because the song is good. Tight, clipped rhythms from drummer Steven Pritchard and bassist John E. Xero's typical musical bass playing underpin a good melody. Kennedy's voice is a bit of an acquired taste but again, the song is good enough to look past that. Perhaps somewhat unusually the verse slightly outshines the chorus, musically but also aided by the notion that in the verses he's putting up a fight, before the slightly downer profession of loserdom in the chorus.

Following this the band, or at least Kennedy and Paterson, moved to Sydney. While we can muster a slight endorsement for the Careless Talk Costs Lives 7" on Waterfront (1982) after that you're firmly on your own.

Am I A Pagan? [Download]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad you like the song. I wish we could have recorded a better version, but I was in a real rush to get into the studio and get something onto vinyl for the first time. James Paterson.