Oingo Boingo – Only a Lad

Oingo Boingo – Only a Lad – 4.5/5

Originally discovered from the popular Azumanga Daoih AMV which made use of their track 'I like Little Girls,' it wasn't long before I had explored a little further into this new wave band's origins and uncover than Danny Elfman (now famous for his collaboration with Tim Burton, providing the soundtracks to most of his films) takes the lead role in this new wave band not quite like any other. There aren't any of the overt synths that plagued much of the genre, far more reminiscent of 'The Knack' in their use of multiple guitars to create their core melody, but they don't even finish here making sure to find ample use for all manner of keyboards, flutes, trumpets and trombones to lend an almost 'Madness'-esque sensibility. Which is to say, not particularly sensible at all.

With lyrics ranging from the 'are they serious or sarcastic' depths of pro-capitalism and offering support for capital punishment, all the way to the rather forthright 'Nasty Habits,' all about masturbating, and the far more bluntly put 'I like Little Girls.' Elfman's quirkiness is displayed from the very beginning and makes it no wonder Burton picked him out for work on his film 'Beetlejuice;' its all too sadistically happy to evoke images of an eccentric figure with a rather creepy smile grinning from ear to ear, delivering with a memorable ska-like skip in its step and an old fashioned theatrical gothic twist.

With this debut effort there shows a determined reluctance to follow in line with other artists at the time, but neither has he entirely figured out his trademark sound. This fact results in a gloriously experimental release that sways around with its influences, never straying far from the eclectic and instantly recognisable vocalist but often providing something distinct from the rest of the tracks. This is new wave as it should be performed, making full use of everything at their disposal to provide music which whilst not absent of punk attitude, is more willing to push a few buttons. In their own words, “Isn't this a dream come true? Isn't this a nightmare too?”

Highlights: Controller, Little Girls, Nasty Habits