OK – all you Adam And The Ants fans, and you know who you are; mark June 3rd on your calendars because that is the day the re-imagined, re-invented, and re-mastered box set of Kings Of The Wild Frontier will be released.
Adam And The Ants existed from 1977-1882 in two distinct incarnations. In 1980 guitarist Matthew Ashman, drummer David Bararoosa, and bassist Leigh Gorman left the band to form Bow Wow Wow. Enter guitarist Marco Pirroni, drummer Chris Hughes, and bassist Kevin Mooney with percussionist Terry Lee Miall in support and you have the foundation of one of the more influential British albums of the early 1980’s.
Kings Of The Wild Frontier came along at just the right time as it caught the end of the punk music era and the beginning of New Wave. Fusing elements from both traditions; it was able to a produce a sound that fit its time period perfectly. In addition to the music the band was able to convey a sexuality and swagger that made up for any musical short-comings. The album was a huge commercial success in their home country topping the charts and being named Album Of The Year.
The new box set moves far beyond the original album as it presents the music of the band in its entirety. Studio tracks, live performances, and promotional videos all combine to give a history of the band and of rock music in a transitional period.
CD disc one presents the original album, plus single B sides and four previously unreleased studio demos. Songs such as “Dog Eat Dog,” “Antmusic,” and “the title track are representative of a by-gone era. The music is fronted by Adam Ant’s energetic vocals but it is the mixture of drums and percussion that carry the sound.
CD disc two is centered around a 17 song live performance at Chicago’s Park West Club in April of 1981. It catches the band at its best and the only regret is it is a CD and not a DVD.
The DVd presents a number of promotional videos, which were important in the day but now seem dated. The highlight is their complete 1981 performance in Tokyo. It is a classic Adam and The Ants concert. Again, it is representative of an era but if you allow yourself to be transported back in time, it serves as an introduction to the band on stage.
The LP provides the flash. It is the original album issued on 180 gram gold vinyl. It is more to be admired than played. Throw in an extensive booklet, pictures, and some odds and ends and you have the definitive Adam And The Ants release.
This box set may not be for everybody but for aficionados of the band, it is a must.