Cherry Red Records (label)

30 November 2018 (released)

01 December 2018

As a solo artist in the mid-eighties, Howard Jones was big enough to warrant appearing at Live Aid. Seemingly pitched into a phony charts war with Nik Kershaw, Jones led the way with these two albums, producing a cluster of top ten hits in the UK and the US. Originally released in March 1984, Human's Lib has the debut smell of energy and innocence, which always disappears over time. The breakthrough hit New Song is surrounded by slightly frantic sounding tracks like Conditioning and Equality, which don't stand the test of time so well. The classic What is Love and the haunting Hide and Seek fair much better, as does the ambitious - and slightly pompous - Don't Always Look At The Rain.

Dream Into Action came exactly a year later, and showcased a broader and bigger sound, with real bass guitar replacing keyboards on some of the tracks. It produced four top ten singles with Look Mama's quirky intro and catchy chorus a pick, as well as the ballad No One Is To Blame, which in later versions featured Phil Collins. On the CD version - but not the original vinyl - is the interim single Like To Get To Know You Well, with its Caribbean influence.

While not quite a pioneer in the likes of say Japan, Howard Jones rode the wave of synth-pop in original and distinctive ways and these two albums capture his pomp. Released in various expanded versions, there is plenty for fans to enjoy, including a splendid looking green vinyl of Dream Into Action.