INXS – Kick (1987)

LPFrontCover1INXS (pronounced “in excess”) were an Australian rock band, formed as The Farriss Brothers in 1977 in Sydney, New South Wales. The band’s founding members were bassist Garry Gary Beers, main composer and keyboardist Andrew Farriss, drummer Jon Farriss, guitarist Tim Farriss, lead singer and main lyricist Michael Hutchence, and guitarist and saxophonist Kirk Pengilly. For twenty years, INXS was fronted by Hutchence, whose magnetic stage presence made him the focal point of the band. Initially known for their new wave/pop style, the band later developed a harder pub rock style that included funk and dance elements.

In 1984, INXS had their first number-one hit in Australia with “Original Sin”. The band would later achieve international success in the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s with the hit albums Listen Like Thieves, Kick, and X, as well as the singles “What You Need”, “Need You Tonight” (the band’s first and only number-one single in the United States), “Devil Inside”, “Never Tear Us Apart”, “Suicide Blonde” and “New Sensation”.

Following Hutchence’s death from suicide in November 1997, INXS made appearances with several guest singers and toured and recorded with Jon Stevens as lead singer beginning in 2002. In 2005, members of INXS participated in Rock Star: INXS, a reality television series that culminated in the selection of Canadian J.D. Fortune as their new lead singer. Irish singer-songwriter Ciaran Gribbin replaced Fortune as lead singer in 2011. During a concert on 11 November 2012, INXS stated that the performance would be their last, although they did not announce the band’s permanent retirement.

Singles

INXS won six Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards, including three for “Best Group” in 1987, 1989 and 1992; the band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2001. INXS has sold an estimated 60 million records worldwide.

Kick is the sixth studio album by the Australian rock band INXS, released in 1987 by WEA in Australia, Atlantic Records in the United States and Mercury Records in Europe.

As the band’s most successful studio album, Kick has been certified six times platinum by the RIAA and spawned four US top 10 singles (“New Sensation”, “Never Tear Us Apart”, “Devil Inside” and “Need You Tonight”, the last of which reached the top of the US Billboard singles charts). At the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards, the band took home five Moonmen for the “Need You Tonight”/”Mediate” video.

The album was produced by British producer Chris Thomas and recorded by David Nicholas in Sydney, Australia, and in Paris, France. The album was mixed by Bob Clearmountain at Air Studios in London.

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Between 1980 and 1984, INXS had released four studio albums and had toured their native country Australia extensively. The 1985 release of Listen Like Thieves brought the group international acclaim, as well as a long-awaited breakthrough in the US.[5] The album peaked at No.11 on the US Billboard 200, and featured the band’s first top 5 single in the US, “What You Need”.
INXS gathered at the Sydney Opera House in Australia to begin the rehearsal sessions for Kick.

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After the success of Listen Like Thieves and its second single “What You Need”, INXS knew their next album would have to be even better. According to guitarist and saxophonist Kirk Pengilly, “We wanted an album where all the songs were possible singles”. Towards the end of 1986, the band members gathered at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, NSW, Australia to rehearse the songs that Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farriss had written for Kick. (by wikipedia)

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“What You Need” had taken INXS from college radio into the American Top Five, but there was little indication that the group would follow it with a multi-platinum blockbuster like Kick. Where the follow-ups to “What You Need” made barely a ripple on the pop charts, Kick spun off four Top Ten singles, including the band’s only American number one, “Need You Tonight.” Kick crystallized all of the band’s influences — Stones-y rock & roll, pop, funk, contemporary dance-pop — into a cool, stylish dance/rock hybrid. It was perfectly suited to lead singer Michael Hutchence’s feline sexuality, which certainly didn’t hurt the band’s already inventive videos. But it wasn’t just image that provided their breakthrough. For the first (and really only) time, INXS made a consistently solid album that had no weak moments from top to bottom.

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More than that, really, Kick is an impeccably crafted pop tour de force, the band succeeding at everything they try. Every track has at least a subtly different feel from what came before it; INXS freely incorporates tense guitar riffs, rock & roll anthems, swing-tinged pop/rock, string-laden balladry, danceable pop-funk, horn-driven ’60s soul, ’80s R&B, and even a bit of the new wave-ish sound they’d started out with. More to the point, every song is catchy and memorable, branded with indelible hooks. Even without the band’s sense of style, the flawless songcraft is intoxicating, and it’s what makes Kick one of the best mainstream pop albums of the ’80s. (by Steve Huey)

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Personnel:
Garry Gary Beers (bass)
Andrew Farriss (synthesizer, drum machine, guitar, background vocals)
Jon Farriss (drums, percussion)
Tim Farriss (guitar, background vocals)
Michael Hutchence (vocals)
Kirk Pengilly (saxophone, guitar, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Guns In The Sky (Hutchence) 2.21
02. New Sensation (Farris/Hutchence) 3.40
03. Devil Inside (Farris/Hutchence) 5.15
04. Need You Tonight (Farris/Hutchence) 3.01
05. Mediate (Farris/Hutchence) 2.37
06. The Loved One (Clyne/Humphreys/Lovett) 3.36
07. Wild Life (Farris/Hutchence) 3.10
08. Never Tear Us Apart (Farris/Hutchence) 3.07
09. Mystify (Farris/Hutchence) 3.18
10. Kick (Farris/Hutchence) 3.14
11. Calling All Nations (Farris/Hutchence) 3.03
12. Tiny Daggers (Farris/Hutchence) 3.30

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Review

Michael Kelland John Hutchence (22 January 1960 – 22 November 1997) was an Australian musician, singer-songwriter and actor who co-founded the rock band INXS, which sold over 60 million records worldwide and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2001. Hutchence was the lead singer and lyricist of INXS from 1977 until his death. According to rock music historian Ian McFarlane, “Hutchence was the archetypal rock showman. He exuded an overtly sexual, macho cool with his flowing locks, and lithe and exuberant stage movements.” Hutchence was named ‘Best International Artist’ at the 1991 BRIT Awards, with INXS winning the related group award.

Hutchence was a member of the short-lived pop rock group Max Q. He also recorded some solo material and acted in feature films, including Dogs in Space (1986), Frankenstein Unbound (1990), and Limp (1997).

Michael Hutchence

Hutchence had a string of love affairs with prominent actresses, models and singers, and his private life was often reported in the Australian and international press. In July 1996, Hutchence and English television presenter Paula Yates had a daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.

On the morning of 22 November 1997, Hutchence was found dead in his hotel room in Sydney. His death was reported by the New South Wales Coroner to be the result of suicide by hanging. (by wikipedia)

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