Limited Warranty – Limited Warranty (CD, Wounded Bird WOU 513, 2007) ($8.89)
It’s with slight trepidation and risk of any “cred” that I may have gained over the years that I write about this purchase. Limited Warranty is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me and is probably tainted and tinted by the gathering fog and mist clouding my memory of this band.
Limited Warranty was a band from Minneapolis that won the Star Search bands competition in 1985 which landed them a big cash prize and a single that was pushed for radio play. That single “This Is Serious” b/w “Never Enough” was recorded with former Psychedelic Furs drummer Vince Ely producing. The single enjoyed lots of airplay in the Midwest and toured extensively. They were eventually approached by ATCO, a subsidiary label of Atlantic to record their first album released in 1986.
This album, produced by Brian Tench who also worked with Orchestral Manoevers in the Dark, Bow Wow Wow and other New Wave Acts, along with its first single “Victory Line” seemed to do really well. The album certainly got a lot of play in Dubuque on KLYV-105. Some of this, I believe, was because one of the member’s uncle was the station manager. Limited Warranty played in the Dubuque area quite a bit as I recall. I saw them play the Dubuque County Fairgrounds for a M.A.D.D. benefit with a couple of other bands. My brother Steve used to have the poster for this show “Fun-Tacked” to his bedroom door. We also saw them play the Circle in East Dubuque in the winter.
According to this very informative site on Limited Warranty, the band was recording demos for its follow-up album on ATCO when they were dropped from the label. Some of this material was included on their self-released EP called Domestic 7. They came to Dubuque around this time and made an in-store appearance at TJ’s Music World and did an interview on KLYV around this same time telling their story and pushing the EP. I bought the EP on cassette, and I still have it. I also picked up the album on cassette out of a cut-out bin at Musicland in Dubuque. I had always intended to rip these two releases to CD or mp3 but never got around to it.
Apparently, if you wait long enough eventually everything will be released on CD. While I was looking on Amazon for the Wounded Bird releases of the Del Fuegos first three albums, I was looking at the Wounded Bird site and found that the Limited Warranty album had already been released on CD since July of 2007! So, I ordered this one along with the first Del Fuegos.
Listening to it now, it certainly brings back a lot of memories. It is the pop hook-laden album I remember it to be. I had a co-worker listen to it, and his comment was that while it was pretty good and well-done, it was missing something that would have pushed it to the levels of label-mates INXS. I think it has something to do with the missing teenage angst or some level of darkness. It sounds as good as some of their contemporaries like the Psychedelic Furs, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Duran Duran, or OMD would have been turning out. The closest they get is the song “Domestic 7” about old folks homes with its samples of old people talking. The production is a bit thin, unfortunately, but very clean. I think this is a result of this album never having been released on CD so we are getting the limited bandwidth of the cassette or vinyl master. So, it could stand a remastering. Nevertheless, it’s cool to hear these songs again.
Thanks to Brian’s World for his Limited Warranty website— complete with mp3 samples of all of the releases!