Legendary MTV conceptionalist Keith Williams reviews Dream Warriors! (Including rare photographs!)
Welcome to the World of Neon Music.
Written by Keith Williams
Back in 1984 when I was working in Hollywood as a concept writer on music videos such as Ghostbusters, Against All Odds, Dancin' with Myself and Holding Out for a Hero, the very first thing I'd think of was how to get neon used.
Whether it was in the form of outlines of windows and doors in the Ray Parker Jr video, a literal love triangle for Phil Collins, a sign atop a dilapidated tower in post-apocalyptic LA for Billy Idol, or even cowboy whips for Bonnie Tyler, they not only added glamorous production value to the low-budget videos involved, but served as devices for containing footage of the movie that particular track was featured in.
More than anything, though, those fluorescent pinks and reds and blues looked so cool.
Little did I realise that thirty-six years later I'd be confronted and dazzled by it again where I live in South Wales. Invited to the set of Dream Warriors, the first video from Taurus 1984 being shot in a nightclub in Swansea, it was like stepping back into the '80s themselves. Not just the throbbing neon colours drenching jaded eyes, but the song alone bringing back so many memories of that wonderful time for pop music (and other genres should purists complain).
Now if neon was an album, here it is, packed with tracks that echo and play with what was arguably one of the best decades for pop culture - 1984 being the peak of that time and still the best year of my life.
Kicking off with an invitation from Radio DJ Nikki of One Nine 8 Four to listen to Taurus 1984 on the Groove Hour, we're launched into the title track Dream Warriors where we find not only references to arguably the best of the Nightmare on Elm Street films but the legendary Lost Boys themselves.
Sung by Jeris Spencer, with a chorus that echoes treasured memories of The Wall, a sense of wistfulness and youthful defiance triumphs over a pounding, merciless beat.
Invisible Summer follows, a paean to a period of happiness and regret, leading us into the present where conflicting emotions of yearning, loss and separation fuse a number of songs together like Callin' You, Ghosts and Home, rendered expertly by Abi Davies and guest singer Phil Colwill.
Not that any of this renders gloom and doom to the listener drawn in by the promise of pastels and vivid graphics on the album's distinctive cover. The lyrics may suggest the influence of Ingmar Bergman at his most reflective, but the music soars above any sadness, in its own way celebrating the human experience we call Life.
Or does it? That's the beauty of a new album, waiting to be explored, each successive listen gradually revealing nuances and perspectives hitherto
unrealised and passed over.
Such is Dream Warriors by Taurus 1984. To analyse it after a few streams is to deny it endless fascination and discovery. To find out what's actually behind all that rich electro pop sound is its reward to us, fans of the summer of 84, and lovers of music that respects and honours it.