Language – Gary Myrick (1983)

Language album cover
Language album cover

Gary Myrick is one of those ’80s artist who at one point showed a great deal of promise with early success on the soundtrack for the film Valley Girl. As a talented guitarist/song writer, Myrick’s music diverged from much of what was happening in the Southern California post punk scene.

His West Coast style incorporated many elements of blues, rock and pop all wrapped into a new wave presentation. After the critical and commercial success Myrick’s 1980 debut Gary Myrick and the Figures, there must have been some pressure to follow-up the success that came from songs like ‘She Talks In Stereo’ and ‘She’s So Teenage’.

When Language was released in 1983, new wave music had moved along front and center of the pop charts and was easily definable. Myrick’s brand of blues/rockabilly/surfer tinged new wave had changed also, becoming more polished in the process. The refinement of his sound also made him harder to categorize on some levels. There was some punk, some power pop even some blues much like the Plimsouls.

Whatever elements were there they were secondary to the strong new wave element. Overall the sound of Language had more in common with Corey Heart or Nik Kershaw but with less pop. Language offers no real gems in the way that Gary Myrick and the Figures did, but it did have at least one of Myrick’s greatest songs. The ‘Message Is You’ is classic early ’80s synth pop with something of a Psychedelic Furs bent to it. The artsy video was popular on MTV and was Myrick’s first real hit after the Valley Girl days.

Language was difficult to find for years since it went out of press in the late ’80s, but has recently been re-issued along with Myricks first three albums on the Wounded Bird label (a subsidy of Sony). Like the other re-issues Language comes with bonus tracks that give more insight to the diverse styles that Myrick explored around the time of Language’s original release.

The legacy of Gary Myrick might well rest with ‘She Talks in Stereo’, but Language shows a chart potential that clearly went unrecognized as in the excellent ‘Message is You’. In a kind of artist justice, Myrick is currently enjoying a kind of resurgence, thanks in part to the re-issues.

 

Sounds like: Nik Kershaw Corey Heart The Plimsouls

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