Price paid: $4
Location purchased: My Mind’s Eye, Cleveland OH
The Expressos were a Rather low-energy rock band that fall under the ‘New Wave’ monicker due more to timing than any actual progressive musical aesthetic. At least in retrospect. Maybe if you were there back in the day this stuff would seem a little more radical and dangerous? Supposedly Elvis Costello was a big fan…
To my ear though their sound has a 60s retro feel to it, rather stereotypical of bands of this period/locale. ‘Kiss You all Over’ lacks that patina however, coming off more as standard rock ala Pat Benatar.
It’s not bad stuff actually, but comes across as rather tame and conservative when you consider all of the cutting edge music that was going on around them. I’ll coin a term here and call it ‘Safe Wave.’
A tour around the internets dredges up scant information other than they have a small but enthusiastic fan base. I’d consider myself fairly well-versed in female-lead groups of the period, but other than their name I knew next to nothing about them before researching this single.
It’s a bit murky, but it appears that guitarist Mick Toldi formed PIL (Public Image Limited) with Keith Levine (The Clash), bringing the fresh ex-Pistol John Lydon into the fold. Jah Wobble fits in there somewhere as well. At least as Toldi tells it. He left the band (at Rotten’s request) before any material was released.
Upon leaving PIL Toldi met Rozzi Rayner, the soon-to-be lead singer of the Expressos…
The band were signed to WEA soon after, but although they toured with the likes of The Jam and Squeeze and bumped shoulders with contemporaries such as Bananarama,The Boomtown Rats, and other up-and-comers, they failed to find lasting public interest or financial success. The band split in 1981.*
The late 80’s band ‘Escape Club’ (known for their song ‘Wild Wild West’) included The Expressos’ former bassist Johnnie Christo.
Mick Toldi died of a brain tumor in April of 2011.
Vocalist Rozzi Rayner’s whereabouts are unknown. It appears that she did not continue a music career after the band’s breakup.
Regarding the package- I must say I quite like the sleeve. The shocking red/green design pops and, paired with classic DIY collage artwork, really makes a dramatic in-your face impression. Pity the sounds on the disc don’t live up to the promise…
*See this link for the raw story, straight from the horse’s mouth. For now I’ll leave the info as ‘anecdotal’, but fascinating- Mike Toldi reminisces