Cactus World News 'Urban Beaches' (MCA MCG 6005) * * * * *

Cactus World News don't need it. They don't need your inna big country snide assignations. They don't need your sidelong sneers, your stadium rock accusations, the finger wavering towards those Bono parts. All the Cacti need are your ears, and a moment of your time, if you will…

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is a collection of sculptures arranged in a public park. We have the realist corner, over there by the azaleas, wherein wanders chubby Jim Kerr, neckerchief flapping in the breeze. We have the monolith, where we crib our notes from Peter Gabriel. And we have the surrealists, and here we minimalistically sit on the park bench, the one where Sylvian takes Polaroids.

And where we fall in love.

Cactus World News are big money, big business, big - if you will bear with me for just one moment - hype. Too easy for them to turn in the expected one-layered, one-dimensional rock gospel, the one filed so conspicuously under 'D' for debut. Too easy to take the advice of those Older And Wiser, superficially offered, left lying like fag ends in the plastic beakers after the signing party.

Because Cactus World News, it would seem, have a wisdom beyond their years. This is an exercise in syphoning their energies into the Classic Album. Here it sits, inspecting its fingernails. Supremely crafted, professionally worked, dynamically arranged… balanced in output. Just open the can, and let the worms explode.

Fire in the furnace… it sizzles, it hisses, it roars, and then it quietly flickers. 'State Of Emergency' wafts a charcoal pyre into the skies, and the grey plumes spell out emotion. 'Years Later' leaves Springsteen, red-faced, bump starting his Chevrolet. The (so far) criminally ignored single 'Worlds Apart' bares its teeth for a dancefloor massacre.

Twisting the knife, Cactus World News clear their throats and begin another assault. And … and … and … 'Urban Beaches' is a place for your emotions to sunbathe, from which they'll return refreshed but with the grit still lodged between the toes. This is a holiday, but this is no picnic. Leave no litter. Cactus World News are clean but not sterile. And?

And a butterfly flutters over the bomb site.

Carole Linfield - Sounds magazine, May 10 1986