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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Blanket of Secrecy - Ears Have Walls (1982)

In which we imagine a world where the compact disc was introduced in 1980, and now-obscure artists and albums could be preserved for posterity...


Not much is known about this mysterious trio, who released the synth-pop masterpiece Walls Have Ears album in 1982. Who were these guys? The songs were all credited to 'Tinker','Tailor' and 'Soldier' (in different variations) so that certainly hasn't helped matters much. There was a rumor floating around at the time that they were the Attractions (Elvis the C's backing band) but that's highly unlikely. What we do know is that it was released on F-Beat Records in the UK (as Ears Have Walls) and on Warner Brothers in the U.S (as Walls Have Ears). Reviews at the time mentioned the name Pete Marsh as the main-man of the band. Marsh was originally a member of Easy Street, a mellow acoustic act of the '70 whose ranks also included Richard James Burgess, who went on to produce plenty of synth pop in the '80s. (Marsh later appeared on Nick Lowe's The Abominable Showman album.) One of the tracks on Walls Have Ears, "Lovers", was written arranged by Jack Hues (then of Huang Chung, soon to be Wang Chung).

One of the finest pop albums of its time, Walls Have Ears remains one of many overlooked gems from the new wave era. This mysterious trio wrote pure and unabashed pop songs heavily influenced by the '60s and '70s and dressed them up in '80s clothing. Guitars float and shimmer above a synth foundation, allowing vocal harmonies (and some bits of brass) to roam freely in and out of each song. The haunting "Say You Will" is drop-dead gorgeous with its acoustic guitar riff and pained vocals. "Yo-Yo" could have been a massive hit with its classic hook bouncing around the room. "Remember Me and You," "Tell Me Baby" and "Love Me Too" contain all the elements that make pop music so enchanting and enticing. When BoS get all gooey on ballads such as "Lovers," "Close to Me" and "Photograph," the effects are mesmerizing. An album to love and embrace your whole life through. (from Allmusic.com)

Efforts to unveil the mysterious trio bore fruit thanks to the diligent efforts of Gary Maher, who disclosed the results of his extensive research here.

[UPDATE] Lots of developments in 2013 including a website www.blanketofsecrecy.com

Blanket of Secrecy - Ears Have Walls (1982)
  1. Say You Will
  2. Young Heart
  3. Love Me Too
  4. Remember Me And You
  5. Long Cool Glass
  6. Photograph
  7. Yo Yo
  8. Close To Me
  9. Something I Don't Need
  10. Tell Me Baby
  11. Lovers
  12. B.O.S. Theme
  13. Feather In My Hand (Bonus Track)
  14. In The Garden (Bonus Track)
  15. Say You Will (Extended Mix)
Download (link removed - legal download available Feb 2013)

Wikipedia Entry

17 comments:

Miss Parker said...

Thank you for another look at an era I love.

The Vinyl District said...

Thank you for this! One of my favorites of all time - no foolin'!

Mikeyten said...

I look forward to hearing this as I loved Peter Marsh´s single Dosn´t Matter,thanx for the share i´ll let you know what I think, Cheers Mikeyten.

Anonymous said...

Hi, it's Danielwaver, aka 80zguy aka 80zforever here lol. great choice and thanks for this!

Mikeyten said...

Yes I´m enjoying the album, thankyou again,I also have the single with these two non album tracks,I hope you don´t mind me posting them for you,cheers Mikeyten.

In The Garden
[URL=http://www.zshare.net/audio/10014172ad0816fb/]in the garden.mp3 - 3.80MB[/URL]

Feather In My Hand.
[URL=http://www.zshare.net/audio/1001421589a408d0/]feather in my hand.mp3 - 4.87MB[/URL]

Anonymous said...

When I was in the Air Force in Phoenix Az. the local radio station played "say you will" alot. I purchased the album but several years sold it to local record store. I would have thought "say you will" would appear on a 80's comp. Cd by now , but some reason this great song has slipped between the cracks. Thanks great post

Camarillo Brillo said...

Thanks!!!!

Anonymous said...

brilliant ! thank you so much kevcav333

rocdoc said...

i have this on vinyl from back-in-the-day because the local fm station played several songs from them, and they were all great.

i saw kayaker/camarillo ask about it at his blog and i followed it down here.

thanks for providing this one.

and to kayaker for the directions here!

Anonymous said...

This has long been a favorite of mine. I have the vinyl, am looking for someone to convert it to a CD.


Jennifer G.
Seattle, Washington

Paul G said...

And the cover design (and plasticine sculpture) was by the great Barney Bubbles in his guise as Heeps Willard (actually a north London construction company).

See here: http://www.barneybubbles.com/blog/archives/3087

Blanket Of Secrecy mainman was Roger Bechirian, FBeat stable producer who worked with Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe etc.

H said...

Many thanks for this brilliant album. Very sad - till now this album is not to issued on CD.

Shame to record companies!


Haralds, Latvia

Anonymous said...

i loved this album back when it came out, and i've always hoped it would be released on cd so i could replace my scratchy vinyl version.

thanks for posting it in digital format!

punkinblue9 said...

Thanks! Didn't know about the extended version of "Say You Will", which I've always liked.

Gary said...

Check out Roger Bechirian's Facebook page -- he says he's transferring the original master tapes to digital for a release in the next month or so. PLUS he's also doing the tracks for the second album that was recorded at the same time as Ears Have Walls but never released!!!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Roger-Bechirian-Music-Producer/111888448840963#!/pages/Roger-Bechirian-Music-Producer/111888448840963

Tailor said...

legal download available mid feb 2013

Jon Silence said...

The links for In the Garden and Feather in My Hand are dead :( Can anyone here hook me up with these two non-lp tracks? It would be much appreciated.