INXS – Kick

It’s somewhat ironic that MoFi kicked off its new Silver Label with a mainstream pop title, but a sense of humor is always welcome in this wacky business. According to Josh Bizar, head of marketing for Music Direct, owners of the MoFi label, “While we can’t always put our hands on the original master tape for the Silver Series, as we do with our standard pressings, we get as close as we can, and on some of these records, we’ve actually managed to get the original master. The big difference is that these records are mastered and cut in real time on 140g vinyl instead of 180g vinyl. The quality is still to the high level you’ve come to expect from MoFi.”

When Kick was released in 1987, the LP was on its way out the out door, and though many records were still recorded and mastered on analog tape, most of the vinyl getting pressed was mediocre at best. Originally produced by Chris Thomas (Pretenders, Elvis Costello) and mixed by Bob Clearmountain (Van Halen, Doobie Brothers), Kick proved no exception; revisiting my original pressing revealed CD-like sound, with healthy doses of compression and treble boost. MoFi’s version still has a touch of HF boost, but it’s a huge improvement over the analog original and miles ahead of the CD. The radio and MTV classic “Need You Tonight” doesn’t even feel like the same tune. Replete with added spaciousness, you can hear lead singer Michael Hutchinson’s vocal stylings much easier and, like the rest of the album, there is now a healthy dose of LF energy.  The bass is consistently heavier throughout, giving this record a much fuller sound, perhaps the most so on “Mystified” and “New Sensation.”

Should you find yourself in a totally 80s mood, Kick is fun to revisit as it’s chock full of familiar hits and finds INXS was at the top of its game. It’s amazing at how much more music there’s on this record that many of us never heard the first time around. And after spinning both sides, it’s clear that MoFi has kept their promise. The surfaces are just as quiet as any of the label’s recent half-speed-mastered LPs, and while the latter still possess extra degrees of ultimate smoothness, the results are excellent and worthy of your hard-earned cash.  And for any collectors concerned about cover quality, the printing is first-rate, too.  – Jeff Dorgay

MoFi Silver Label, 140g LP