Romeo Void: Never Say Never (1982)

 |   |  1 min read

Romeo Void: Never Say Never (1982)

The British label Stiff Records (which gave the world Jona Lewie, Lena Lovich and Wreckless Eric alongside Elvis Costello and Ian Dury, among others) said everybody had one good single in them.

Romeo Void out of San Francisco had Never Say Never, a smart sliver of New Wave pop which rode a relentless beat and was elevated not just by the ennui and indifference of singer Debora Iyall but by Ric (The Cars) Ocasek's terrific production.

As Melody Maker's Michael Oldfield noted at the time of the memorable chorus "I might like you better if we slept together": "[It] sounds like an invitation to dance from a rattlesnake". 

The whole thing -- with some sizzling guitar by Peter Woods and Benjamin Bossi's atonal sax -- seemed to owe more than a little to Yoko Ono's Walking on Thin Ice of the previous year. On the same-title EP from which this was lifted, their In the Dark and Present Tense have a cavernous sound akin to Joy Division.

Their debut album of the previous year, It's a Condition, showed also that here was an American band at times more English than the English and drawing from the best of influences. And they could play: Max Bell in NME reviewing the album noted their material was "tight enough to stand next to Becker and Fagen [Steely Dan]." 

Romeo Void seemed to have more than enough going for them, but despite sexually suggestive songs (Talk Dirty to Me, White Sweater off the album), the jazzy saxophone (Bossi putting them closer to early Roxy Music at times) and a tight rhythm section (drummers Larry Carter on Never Say Never and John Haines on the album, bassist Frank Zincavage) they never quite got over the hurdle -- even though two more albums followed.

Still, they were highly regarded . . . and Queens of the Stone Age covered Never Say Never on a B-side which has turned up on the Deluxe Edition of Rated R.

Good enough for you?

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

Nigel - Apr 23, 2012

Romeo Void are wonderful!
I have them on vinyl and am always amazed how few people have heard of their album!
Never say never is such a great song!

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Chubby Checker: Mexican Hat Twist (1962)

Chubby Checker: Mexican Hat Twist (1962)

It's entirely possible Chubby Checker knew his time was up when Parkway released his album Twist with Chubby Checker. On the back cover he looks alarmed. Maybe he'd seen the inner sleeve where... > Read more

t.A.T.u.: All the Things She Said (2002)

t.A.T.u.: All the Things She Said (2002)

This Russian duo of Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova might have been created and marketed by Moscow producer Ivan Shapovalov with all the ruthless and media-savvy smarts of Malcolm McLaren, but at... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

OHMYNEWS: The Korean model of citizen journalism (2008)

OHMYNEWS: The Korean model of citizen journalism (2008)

The e-mail from Jean K. Min is clear, he tells me they are located in the Nuritkum Square Business Tower, “a huge futuristic building in the centre of Digital Media City, you cannot miss... > Read more

THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY IN PRINT (2000): Hardback Writers?

THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY IN PRINT (2000): Hardback Writers?

The Beatles' story has been recounted by those who knew them intimately and those who not only never met them but would seem, after enduring a few pages of their authors recycling press... > Read more