191. Mourning Into Dancing – 441
MOURNING INTO DANCING (1985)
When discussing the Southern California New wave/Punk scene of the 1980’s it is easy to refer to Undercover, the Lifesavors, Altar Boys and the Lifters, but 441 should not be forgotten. After recording only two albums (a later release featured two band members), the band disappeared.
The eponymous debut made an immediate impact as I continued my pestering of the program director of KYMS to try new bands. I was often rebuffed because of the too rocky and edgy music, but with 441 there was an instant appreciation. More soulful new wave/new romantic styles like that of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet on the softer side, the band was more polished, pop and accessible. As a result the bands singles charted heavily on the station and their popularity grew.
But there second album was significantly better, both musically and lyrically as stronger production at the hands of John and Dino Elefante. The band also stood out because they were not afraid to write about the darker, more serious struggles young Christian faced including doubt, purity and self-steem issues. They would wonderfully mask these topics in unforgettable pop.
Lead vocalist John McNamara had a cool swing and swagger that worked with the sound. The album cover should been seriously reconsidered. It was so “demo” and “rock’ looking that it should be considered false advertising. This was clearly before the days of image consultants.
441 was band for their time. Caught squarely in the 1980’s new wave sound, the record sound dated, or better yet, nostalgic. The reason is because they were authentic for the time. They were not behind of ahead of the times, they were squarely rooted in the day. And within that framework they created some wonderful music and one very fine record.