1982, Music

Friend or Foe (1982) by Adam Ant

I don’t know the Ants, which seems to put me at a disadvantage with this record because everything I’ve read about it suggests that the sound is very much in line with that band (or, at least, the second incarnation of that band).

This is an interesting take on New Wave that incorporates world music, must like post punk might, albeit without the edge and gloominess of true post punk. Instead the music is effervescent, even the lyrics are often the opposite. But the pounding drums that are so distinctive here are apparently a big feature of the Ants’ (later) sound so, hearing that, I’m inclined to think this is a little less unique than it sounds to my ears.

The songs are pretty catchy and definitely on the less quirky side of new wave. (The arrangements are where the quirk comes in.) The lyrics are not fantastic but they’re okay. Hit or miss, I’d say.

There’s a pretty decent cover of “Hello, I Love You,” a song I didn’t think ever needed covering.

But the arrangements are the real star: pounding drums, guitars are sometimes jangly, sometimes jagged, the vocals are idiosyncratic – basically all the things you’d expect from New Wave.

It’s good, I just think that it’s probably the solo version of the band’s sound.


All tracks written by Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni, except “Hello, I Love You”, written by The Doors.

  1. “Friend or Foe” 3:22
  2. “Something Girls” 3:52
  3. “Place in the Country” 2:50
  4. “Desperate But Not Serious” 4:14
  5. “Here Comes the Grump” 3:35
  6. “Hello, I Love You” (originally recorded by The Doors) 2:37
  7. “Goody Two Shoes” 3:28
  8. “Crackpot History and the Right to Lie” 2:44
  9. “Made of Money” 3:28
  10. “Cajun Twisters” 2:56
  11. “Try This for Sighs” 3:03
  12. “Man Called Marco”
  • Adam Ant – vocals, bass guitar, production
  • Marco Pirroni – guitar, production
  • Bogdan Wiczling – drums, percussion
  • Martin Drover – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Jeff Daly – saxophone
  • Jude Kelly – vocals on “Desperate But Not Serious”
  • Sam Brown, Sonia Jones, Vicki Brown – backing vocals on “Hello I Love You”

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