Just when you think you've mined the '80s for every last quirky morsel of synth-drenched day-glo awesomeness and reached the proverbial "end of the internet", along comes "Clouds Across The Moon" from mysterious UK act The Rah Band.
"RAH", of course, is short for Richard Anthony Hewson, a studio whiz who crafted space age instrumentals and, when vocals were needed (as on "Clouds"), merely called upon wife Liz to lend a breathy, evocative vocal.
If Hewson's name rings oddly familiar to Beatlemaniacs, it may have to do with the fact that he provided the symphonic arrangement for The Beatles' "The Long And Winding Road". If that isn't impressive enough, he did much the same for Supertramp on Crime Of The Century and Crisis? What Crisis?.
Released in 1985, "Clouds Across The Moon" combines all the kitschiest elements of '70s Top 40 radio (soft pop and disco), i.e., the two elements American kids found most uncool in the '80s. Hence, the song was a Top 10 smash in the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands, but both single and album (Mystery) flopped in the States.
Listening to Mystery now, it is truly one for the '80s time capsule. Marty and Doc's DeLorean couldn't take you back to 1985 any quicker than plopping this platter on the hi-fi. Though the production is a tad "reminiscent of the times", that's also what gives it heaps of retro charm. If "ABBA-meets-Carpenters-produced-by-Giorgio-Moroder" sounds like your idea of heaven, get ready to fall head over heels. And don't worry, there's six more studio albums where that came from.
Of course, "Clouds Across The Moon" wasn't the Rah Band's only trip to "the big dance". In 1977, Hewson took robotic instrumental "The Crunch" to #6 after a decidedly inspired identity-concealing performance on Top of The Pops. The song has long been legendary in retro synth circles despite the fact that Hewson readily admits that what fans long presumed to be saucy analog synth riffage was merely a crafty combination of guitar, organ and brass overdubs with effects.
While no longer married to singer Liz, Hewson keeps the Rah Band moniker active to this day, having recently issued a new remix of, you guessed it, "Clouds Across The Moon".