TDF -- Retail Therapy (Reprise)

Retail Therapy is the new release from TDF -- a band fronted by Simon Climie (ex-member of the obscure British synth-pop duo Climie Fisher) and Eric Clapton (who appears under the pseudonym, x-sample). The CD mixes smooth jazzy arrangements, with electronics and jungle rhythms--all offset by Clapton's tasteful acoustic and electric guitar. Several tracks resemble William Orbit's work on the No Speak label. They have the same atmospheric feel and diversity. Some tracks will be right at home in the clubs, while others are perfect for airplay on 'quiet storm' stations. Tunes like "Angelica" and "Sienna" make use of a variety of acoustic arrangements, ranging from solo guitar to an almost tropical feel.

"Sno-God" is one of the harder edged tracks on the disc, featuring superb electric guitar work from Clapton, on top of a tight jungle beat. Another highlight is "Pnom-Sen," a jazzy number with just the right amount of funk. On "Seven," (like Primitive Radio Gods) they use a vocal sample of B.B. King's "How Blue Can You Get." It's not the same line that PRG used, but you can't help wondering if they used the sample thinking that the song would become a hit, based on the success of the PRG tune. The clever thing here is the way the sample fits perfectly in a completely different key than the original song. "Rip Stop" is the CD's first single. The various rhythms and Clapton's fiery fretwork make it one of the highlights.

Originally conceived as backing music for fashion shows, there were no musical boundaries, and no time limits. Once Climie and Clapton got into the songwriting process, they decided to turn it into an album. When asked about his work on the project, Clapton said, "It opened up a whole world that I've never been really directly involved with. This is the furthest I've ever been stretched, and I really enjoy it." Whatever your musical tastes, chances are you'll find something you like on Retail Therapy.

© 1997 Steve Marshall