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Great Albums: Pere Ubu - The Modern Dance, 1978 USA Blank Records

A truly original album, released at the height of (Post) Punk in 1978. An uncompromising and highly experimental work in a sea of Mod & Punk releases that year, it was not likely to be a mass market success. But older heads who were already heavily into Gong, Faust, Eno & Hawkwind found a hugely rewarding album here to add to their collections. Highly rhythmic and at times discordant the songs still manage to conjur up enough hooks to make them memorable and even hummable at times! The track NON ALIGMENT PACT is something of a classic as is THE MODERN DANCE, while LAUGHING is an excercise in deconstructive restraint and power. Jagged guitars, smashing bottles, insistant beats and singer Thomas' desperate wails make for - at times -difficult, but always compelling, listening. However, along with the LIVE IN CLEVELAND album & the DATAPANIK IN THE YEAR ZERO this record makes up a trio of great Pere Ubu 1970s platters.Issued in the UK on MERCURY RECORDS and on the much smaller BLANK label in the USA, it shows that Uk record companies were -at this point-hip enough to understand the relevance of this band and even expect a few sales. A cool album.

Great Albums: The Posies "Blood Candy", 2010 album on Rykodisc

Ok, it's probably a little too recent an LP to claim it to have changed my life...yet. I will however say that this LP has kept me indoors more often as I've been playing it so much. So it's contributed to a drop in Vitamin D in my system. But that's more than compensated by a boost in endorphins as well as a surge in insulin, because as the name suggests it's as sweet as it is brilliant. This is a finely honed album, crammed with fantastic songs very much in the classic Power Pop style of Jellyfish, Big Star and the usual suspects.  But this record is so much more than I can illustrate here. The songs are so strong, filled with killer hooks and gorgeous vocals. It even features THE STRANGLERS HUGH CORNWELL, which could have put me off but I could not make him out anyway-so it's fine. This is their 7th album, and if the others are as good then they must surely be a contender for band of the decade (or three). A truly classic album, which is only marred (on vinyl anyway) by a slightly flat mastering and/or cutting job, but it's good enough to play over and over and with songs so good, it's hard to fault anyway. Get it!

Review of the Dukes Of Kent LP in Ptolemaic Terrascope

(LP on Sugarbush Records

From the Terrascope Website: Click here.

Readers with long memories will no doubt recall me unreservedly recommending the countryfied jangly power-pop delights of The Silent's Blue's debut six-song LP 'Tune In' back in issue three of the Ptolemaic Terrascope in 1990. I'd long since finished writing for Bucketfull of Brains magazine by that stage and honestly can't remember whether they similarly endorsed the album, but I can't imagine it would have been awarded any accolade less than "record of the month" over there, as the band fit their oeuvre like a musical glove, guitarist Markus Holler even having done a stint with the Fortunate Sons at one time, whereupon he was replaced by former Flamin’ Groovy Chris Wilson. Which was about as close to sainthood as it’s possible to imagine round at Bucketfull HQ in the mid-eighties. I notice that latterday editor, Nick West, also gets a credit in the sleevenotes. It all starts to make sense.

Well, they're back - or at least Markus Holler most certainly is, along with Chris Gussman and Pablo Videla on drums plus Iain Rae on piano, the latter (Rae, not the piano) being ex-Gallagher & Lyle. Which says a great deal for the melodic musical fayre on offer here: nine tracks chock-full of chiming guitars, shimmering harmonies and West Coast licks with influences ranging from the Byrds through Crazy Horse to Tom Petty and Joe Walsh: a melting pot of pop,rock, psych and folk with great gobs of swirling guitar which will assuredly set feet tapping and shims shimmying, to lapse into engineering argot for a moment or two.
‘Limits of the Truth’ is one of my favourite cuts on the album, reminding me strongly of early Jackson Browne at the outset. It’s the start of a trio of great numbers: ‘When I needed You’ is a song worthy of the great Mr Saloman (the guitar work that closes ‘Every Day Brings Something new’ over on the flipside is similarly eloquent), and Side One’s closer ‘Blue Turns to Red’ is just beautifully constructed and performed - a song to be heard and remembered for long after the sun sets over the distant horizon....(abridged)

(Phil McMullen)

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