THE ATTRACTIONS Mad About The Wrong Boy (1980) + Outline Of A Hairdo EP

Mad About
Mad About The Wrong Boy (1980)
Outline Of A Hairdo EP (1980)
The Attractions Without The Star Attraction

Musically, Elvis Costello’s backing band, The Attractions, mine familiar surrounds, which should be recognizable to fans of Elvis, Nick Lowe and the new wave in general. What’s lacking, however – and why this is their only album – is a star attraction. Keyboardist Steve Nieve may have been one of the new wave’s most talented utility men (hands down), but he wasn’t much of a frontman. So, The Attractions, while hitting their marks, tend to be a bit on the faceless side. Which doesn’t mean the music is. Far from it really, as The Attractions were the nimblest of post-punk bands, able to color virtually every outside-the-genre idea Boss Costello could concoct. These compositions, however, just don’t challenge the band’s chops and remain this LP’s toughest nut to crack. Vocally, Nieve comes from the Nick Lowe school of rock (without Lowe’s maddening habit of staying in tune), though the liner notes (or lack of) aren’t specific about who sings what. It’s possible Bruce and/or Pete Thomas may be vocalizing the few tunes they composed, but the majority of this material was written by Nieve (sometimes with his girlfriend, occasionally credited as Brain/Hart). Musically, the instrumentation is dense with military beats and new wavey organs, a lot of what you got from Costello’s Armed Forces, recorded around the same time. It’s fun, but sometimes tough to absorb… or, in the parlance of the trade… not real catchy. The 4 track EP, Outline Of A Hairdo, is a selection of short instrumentals Nieve composed for a low-budget film. (Note: The EP is extremely noisy, kind of expected from quiet piano passages on 45 vinyl). The 90s CD issue is out of print (natch), but it’s at Amazon(HERE) and includes the EP.

Mad About The Wrong Boy
Arms Race (3:00)
Damage (2:06)
Little Miss Understanding (2:23)
Straight Jacket (2:23)
Mad About The Wrong Boy (2:41)
Motorworld (1:47)
On The Third Stroke (2:08)
Slow Patience (2:16)
La-La-La-La-La Loved You (2:22)
Single Girl (2:28)
Lonesome Little Town (3:14)
Taste Of Poison (3:03)
Highrise Housewife (2:44)
Talk About Me (2:12)
Sad About Girls (3:19)
Camera, Camera (3:17)

Outline Of A Hairdo EP
Outline Of A Hairdo (1:02)
Page One Of A Dead Girl’s Diary (1:27)
Sparrow Crap (1:06)
The Tap Dancer (1:55)


  • Willard
    August 24, 2011 - 12:28 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Todd
    August 24, 2011 - 20:08 | Permalink

    Wow. Thanks for posting this!
    This has been my week for downloads. this is the second thing this week that someone gave me that was in my “not in my lifetime” category.
    Thanks Tiger and Willard!

  • Winking Tiger
    August 24, 2011 - 20:42 | Permalink

    Well, all right! (as Buddy Holly was wont to say.) I’m glad you made this into a ‘real’ blog entry, Willard. A lot of people seem to be interested, and the price for the CD is a bit exorbitant. I think your comments were spot on, although “Single Girl,’ sounds like could it have been a single. Almost… ;)

    To all who expressed thanks, you’re welcome. I know what it’s like to search for ‘holy grails’ without success. Enjoy.

    • Willard
      August 24, 2011 - 20:54 | Permalink

      Yeah, I almost tapped “Single Girl” for the player. Thanks again, Wink.

  • Art Ducko
    August 25, 2011 - 02:44 | Permalink

    Listening to the Attractions without Costello is like watching Andy Warhol eating a hamburger without fries.

  • wiley prybar
    August 25, 2011 - 09:13 | Permalink

    Somehow I missed this when it was originally released, probably due to lukewarm reviews. (If I remember correctly.) It’s never a good idea to make the keys guy the front man! (I say, as a former keyboard-front man.) I’ve always wanted to hear the EC-less Attractions. Thank you!

  • Anonymous
    August 25, 2011 - 15:42 | Permalink

    Brain/Hart compositions? Wow, could they be any more precious?

  • Matthew Best
    August 27, 2011 - 00:48 | Permalink

    Thanks very much for this, Willard. Haven’t heard it for ages, but listening to it again I rather enjoy it, at least as a guilty pleasure. Years and years ago I knew the Attractions somewhat – I babysat for Steve Nieve’s two children, and Bruce Thomas produced a single I played on for a band called Carcrash International (we were so bad he walked out of the session). I didn’t know Pete very well, but I once went to a party at his house in Shepherds Bush. To be honest I hung out with the wives more than the guys themselves…

  • Anonymous
    September 6, 2011 - 06:49 | Permalink

    thank you very much. ive never heard the 7 inch. The album is fabolous from beginning to end.. My all time favorite since it came out.

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