When a band names itself after one of the best songs of one of the best bands of all time, namely "Sophisticated Boom Boom" by the Shangri-Las, that's quite an statement. Or rather a promise. And Sophisticated Boom Boom keep this promise on their singular self-titled album from 1982 origianlly released on Off Course Records, the label run by Swiss new wave royalty Grauzone and Stefan Eicher.
Sophisticated Boom Boom transported the Brill Building/Red Bird/Girl Group sound from the Sixties into the New Wave year of 1982. These 14 original compositions did not not lack in punk esprit and the band fell gloriously out of time in the jagged, slightly gloomy early Eighties. Their sound was probably too cheerful, too bubblegum and too life-affirming, and that's probably why they stopped after just one album. After the end of Sophisticated Boom Boom, the no less great C86/Power Pop band Chin Chin emerged from the ashes and released a compilation on Stephen Pastel's 53rd & 3rdLabel.
If you google Sophisticated Boom Boom today, you'll find a lot about Dead or Alive's debut album or about a Scottish band of the same name, but little about this Swiss band. What a pity, this needs to change! Songs like "Frustration", "Jimmy Jimmy", "Trocadero" or "Train to Boyscamp" are great, timeless pop hits, danceable and full of teenage exuberance. Tapete Records are very happy to re-release this nugget of the continental neo-60s scene.
The first thing I heard of SOPHISTICATED BOOM BOOM was a demo tape, just before Christmas 1981. They impressed me immediately with their fresh, unconsumed ideas and their incredible talents as songwriters. I called them immediately to sign them.
Three months later, SOPHISTICATED BOOM BOOM finished recording their first Off Course production. And this album you are now holding in your hand will no doubt be a huge hit by the time you read these lines.
14 hit songs, fresh and unconcernedly performed by Monique, Marianne and Esther. Compositions sparkling with ideas, wit and lust for life by (mainly) Netz, who, together with his younger brother Buzz and Pasquale, is also responsible for the musical backings.
Their uncomplicated, life-affirming songs, which, however, never slip into the embarrassingly banal, like so much else these days, but on the contrary have an astonishingly high standard and are all able to grab you spontaneously, stand in stark contrast to all the fashionably depressive sounds.
But beware: they are by no means deluded or even naive. SOPHISTICATED BOOM BOOM are six young people of today, with both feet on the ground, ...but always "Ready To Dance".
Urs Steiger, Off Course Records, 1982