It’s been 36 years since the release of “Kings of the Wild Frontier,” Adam Ant’s comeback album after Malcolm McLaren lured away his entire backing band for his latest project Bow Wow Wow, and the sound is still revolutionary. It was the album that introduced the drum-heavy Brundi Beat to pop music listeners in the US, Europe and beyond and would come to best define Ant’s sound for the next several decades.
Sony Music and Legacy Recordings have just put out a new addition of the record on vinyl, double CD and an impressively stocked deluxe box set (crammed with a slew of extras). For those who think Ant is little more than a style template that Johnny Depp ripped off for his pirate look, spend just 10 minutes with “Kings of the Wild Frontier” and it becomes obvious that he was creating some of the most exciting pop music to come out of the ‘80s.
With the help of guitarist Marco Pirroni, Ant created a sound that is equal parts exotic and accessible, combing experimental elements with sing-along choruses and sharp hooks. Songs like the album opener “Dog Eat Dog,” the title track, “Physical (You’re So)” and “The Magnificent Five,” have become some of the most seminal for the artist who launched a comeback in 2013.
The super deluxe box set that’s being released includes a DVD of promo videos (the closest thing to a time machine set for the early 1980s), a DVD release of the band’s 1981 Tokyo concert, a mini documentary, a double CD set and 180g gold vinyl LP of the album, along with replica fan club memorabilia. The box set is a fantastic keepsake, but if you aren’t willing to shell out the cash, the 2 CD deluxe edition is definitely a nice compromise including the remastered album, demos and an unreleased 1981 Chicago concert.