100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #36 China Crisis – African and White

Released : 1982

Liverpool has always made a noise apart, despite the obvious hangover  –  some city natives will tell you the most significant aspect of the Beatles legacy is to make it more lucrative to start a mop-topped covers band than write your own songs. At the beginning of the 1980’s a vibrant generation of local groups that had spawned out of punk clubs such as Eric’s offered a vision for the new decade, one that took the emotional austerity of post-punk and lacquered on European pop smarts.

Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon formed China Crisis after an apprenticeship in punk bands, but felt that whilst the city’s heritage was inescapable, their music needed to be forward facing. Perhaps their Cold War era name was the only contemporary thing about them, either way rival outfits like OMD and a Flock of Seagulls were leaving three chords behind.

Now in possession of one of the first electronic drum kits in the UK, the duo began utilised it by constructing a set of beats that seemed too complicated at first, filled in with the simplest of guitar riffs and a bassline lifted from Nile Rodgers as everything then seemed to be. Danceable, chantable, memorable, African and White ghosted to the very edge of the Top 40 before slipping back into relative obscurity, a modern classic from way off the tourist trail.

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