Conceived at a time when the British indie rock scene was dominated by postpunk records that prized angularity and disaffection above all else, Aztec Camera’s debut arrived like a fresh wind. The brainchild of Scottish wunderkind Roddy Frame, the album featured songs that he'd begun when he was 15 and recorded when he was 19. Like contemporaneous albums from his peers Edwyn Collins (leader of Orange Juice) and Paddy McAloon (leader of Prefab Sprout), High Land, Hard Rain combines the buoyancy of youth with the erudition of lyric poetry. Essentially, its songs are about boy and girls in love and the travails of growing up, but Frame delivers with such wit and optimism that this well-worn territory becomes brand new. Most of the songs are anchored in his 12-string acoustic strumming, but he overlaid the songs with influences rarely heard at the time. Sure, there are elements of Echo & The Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes, but Frame also drew from the melodic upsurge of vintage Motown, as well as the skittering swing of Django Reinhardt.

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