“Sounding like a gang of snotty pop antagonists” (Schnee), Scottish rock band “Del Amitri came out swinging on this quirky and often brilliant debut” (Schnee), released in 1985 by Chrysalis Records. Lead singer Justin Currie tried unsuccessfully “to persuade the rest of the band that The Horrors of Sexual Intercourse might be more fitting” (Dingwall) for the album title. His efforts failed, but by any name, Del Amitri’s self-titled debut “is a spectacular affair” (Dingwall) comprised of “ten unmitigated attacks…entirely worthy of devotion” (Dingwall) as “some of the most refreshing and lovable pop music around” (Strickland).
“With jaunty rhythms and quirky melodies, calling them the bastard sons of XTC and Elvis Costello would not have been too far off the mark” (Schnee). Still, the album “has successfully managed to maintain and contain an individul identity which is comparable to the Smiths or Microdisney. But it should not be hindered by comparisons” (Dingwall).
“Its tracks are a catalogue of blisters, and are brilliantly calculated. It covers the politics of suffering, ignorant of current tastes and trends; it’s arrogant, careless of the present prejudice in taste. A rare example of how an indie styled band-with ideals hopefully to the fore-can overcome the cynasism all around” (Dingwall).
“Currie’s lyrics [are] intelligent and witty, laced with sarcasm and venom” (Schnee). As for his “impossible word count” (Prince), he says “‘People are always coming up to me and saying I should slow down and write less words…but that's the way I write. Besides, the people who like us appreciate that. I got a letter from someone the other day which said I crammed more words into a song than most pop bands do into their entire lives. There, the value for money argument!’” (Prince).
“Justin’s lyrics might lead one to the conclusion that he’s not at his most comfortable in female company. A large number of del Amitri songs are about lost or unrequited love” (Strickland) – “hardly love songs, but almost love songs” (Dingwall).
“Highlights include…Hammering Heart” (Schnee) and “the equally excellent Sticks and Stones Girl” (Strickland). The former “is a wonderfully pacy song, criss-crossed with Iain and Brian’s running guitar lines and given heart and warmth by Justin’s powerful vocals and doleful lyrics” (Strickland).
“Del Amitri may yet surprise those who seem to control their destiny at present. The music’s there and they deserve your attention” (Strickland).
- John Dingwall, Sounds magazine, “The Hard Dell.” (6/1/85)
- Bill Prince, NME, “Les Miserables.” (10/26/85)
- Steven “Spaz” Schnee, All Music Guide
- Andy Strickland, Record Mirror, “A Dirty Weekend with Del Amitri.” (10/12/85)