The Cosmopolitans Party Boy (1979–1982) LP

The COSMOPOLITANS started out as a North Carolina dance troupe in 1975 before relocating to NYC a few years later, where they fell into the scene as go-go dancers at the city’s punk/new wave clubs and eventually decided to start writing and performing their own songs. Core COSMOs Jamie K. Sims and Nel Moore initially sang and danced to canned backing tracks at shows until they recorded a 7” in 1980 with Will Rigby and Chris Stamey of the DB’S on guitar and drums; a live band was pulled together shortly thereafter. Given how oriented they were toward the physicality and theatricality of performance, it’s not surprising that they didn’t leave much behind in the way of studio recordings—for an LP-length retrospective, Party Boy is pretty brief, hitting the group’s lone single (but only two of its three different US/UK B-sides?) and four scrapped 1981 tracks. The COSMOPOLITANS’ campy, retro-obsessed shimmy-shake was cut from the same loudly patterned polyester cloth as fellow Southern eccentrics the B-52’S: rickety “96 Tears” organ stabs, minimal rave-ups sans bass, giddy shrieks and twisted girl group harmonies, and lyrics steeped in winking irony, all exemplified in their raucous, gyration-inducing signature song “(How to Keep) Your Husband Happy,” which lifts its cheerleaders-gone-Girls in the Garage chants directly from the “advice” given in one of those wildly regressive health and beauty guides for 1960s women. Dance this mess around, indeed.