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Fourth Drawer Down


Price: £42.38 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
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Frequently Bought Together

Fourth Drawer Down + Sulk + The Affectionate Punch (Reissue)
Price For All Three: £94.13

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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 Aug. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: V2
  • ASIN: B00004U8ES
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,323 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. White Car in Germany
2. A Girl Named Property
3. Kitchen Person
4. Q Quarters
5. Tell Me Easter's On Friday
6. The Associate
7. Message Oblique Speech
8. An Even Whiter Car
9. Fearless (It takes a Full Moon)
10. Point SI
11. Straw Towels
12. Kissed
13. Blue soap

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

The stories behind the four singles which went to make up the Associates' second album are legion. How Billy MacKenzie sang through a vacuum cleaner tube on "Kitchen Person"; how cups were stuck on heads to help implement "The Associate"; the phlegmy coughs which doubled as backing vocals on "Q Quarters". Listening to Fourth Drawer Down now, it seems incredible Rankine and MacKenzie were allowed to get away with so much. But thank goodness they were. MacKenzie's typically overwrought falsetto still carries considerable emotional clout when matched to his partner's dislocated funk and the dark, skewed electronica. The strangeness doesn't stop there, either; among the five bonus tracks included is the song ("Straw Towels") which resulted in the Associates being hospitalised, suffering from drug-induced panic attacks. Plus, there's the rather strange "Blue Soap"--recorded in one take by Billy while he was in the bath listening to a tape of "Kitchen Person". They really don't make them like this any more. --Jerry Thackray

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Nov. 2004
Format: Audio CD
I'm a bit ashamed to say that I only bought this CD on a bit of a parochial whim, having found out that my flat is only a few streets away from where Billy MacKenzie used to live. However the album is unlike anything else I have listened to; the comparisons other reviewers have made with Sparks and Berlin-era Bowie don't really give you an idea of how innovative and scary Fourth Drawer Down is. Punctuated by screams, subliminal mutterings and tubercular coughing, this is music that can give you nightmares, as I found out after listening to it in my bed one night. Billy MacKenzie's vocals seem sometimes to drown under the layers of the instrumentation, almost literally so in the bizarre final track, 'Blue Soap'. Submarine sonar bleeps and frenetic xylophones also make unexpected appearances, but there are also moments such as the beautiful organ chord at the end of the ferocious 'Kitchen Person' that keep the album focused. It might not have the variety and joy of 'Sulk', but Fourth Drawer Down is still a disturbingly good record.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 15 Feb. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Following the release of debut album The Affectionate Punch (on Fiction), Associates parted company with said label & set about moving onwards. This album collects the results of this period, detailed in the Mackenzie-book The Glamour Chase & a great article on Mackenzie by Paul Lester in the first issue of Uncut magazine from 1997. Alan Rankine & Billy Mackenzie, alongside ex-Cure bassist Michael Dempsey, recorded these tracks while being courted by major labels- the sleevenotes detail a happy scam regarding the use of major label money for demos. This period saw Mackenzie hitting the 4th drawer down, where the 'Quiet Life'-herbal tablets were kept, taking this sleeping aid over the reccomended dosage summoned up the feeling of this album...
The various singles are here: Tell Me Easter's on Friday (with flipside Straw Towels), the buzzing Message Oblique Speech- a definite relative of Nag Nag Nag & Being Boiled & the sinister Q-Quarters- which details a dystopic SF-image which ties in with this album. This collection advances on the template set by Bowie/Eno on Low & "Heroes" (Mackenzie recorded The Secret Life of Arabia on the debut BEF album, while Associates debut single was a cover of Boy's Keep Swinging!- see the Double Hipness compilation), taking pop to uncharted realms in this experimental era. The Associate is a bizarre funk song, that showcases dazzling keyboards & is syncopated by the screams of Mackenzie & co as cups were smashed over their heads (don't ask...). A Girl Named Property sounds like Scott Walker playing a song from The Cure's Faith, backed by Suicide- while single Kitchen Person has an accelerating beat, reminiscent of a chemical rush & odd noises created by guitar & a hoover-attachment- hard to make out what Billy is saying, which is just part of the joy...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Aideen O'Doherty on 16 Feb. 2003
Format: Audio CD
For me, The Associates music reached it's inventive zenith here, on Fourth Drawer Down. Each piece is a labyrinthine opus in itself and entirely unlike the last, like the changes on Faust IV but more so. Roll back also to the intricate, extreme, finest points of Bowie - TVC15, 1984,The Secret Life of Arabia - then square them - and you might just be able to imagine what this album is like. The album kicks off with a Kraftwerk/Berlin Bowie Homage/Satire (with The Associates you never really know, being masters at suggesting something without quite pinning it down) 'White car' and finishes with an instrumental version of the same song in James Bond undersea mode. Reggae, marches, spy film music and disco, instruments like guitars and - er - doorbells?? are mangled and tortured into unrecognisable forms yet ultimately remain pop.
For the Associates, the disco is a haunted place, everyday life is a feverish and jittery experience and for that reason, thrilling. It was mostly recorded at night, which tells in its restless mood.
If proof of its greatness was needed, what other album has influenced artists from the most industrial to the most mainstream?
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Format: Audio CD
Just listened to this again after, hmm, twenty years I suppose. Had a good look over the old record cover as I played it. It was always an odd record, I remember - cover pictures of two blokes in an over-chlorinated swimming pool wearing standard indie uniform for the times: Billy MacKenzie not yet stressing about his hair loss, Alan Rankine looking like a latter day Pete Best, all smouldering, if somewhat red, eyes. Yet despite the gatefold sleeve there was almost no information in it. I suppose it added to the enigma.

And so to the music. There was a brief period in the early eighties when people started using words like 'industrial' and 'metallic' to describe a genre (sadly a genre of tosh). I don't think The Associates ever said they were part of this, but these are adjectives that describe this music perfectly. An intense, densely put together set of reverby songs with a level of complexity that still makes me wonder quite what instruments I'm listening to. Some songs are still great, including the very fine side one (the first four songs). The second side (songs five to eight) was always a bit weaker, though I still very much enjoy 'The Associate'. You can't deny the early eighties independentness of it all, but that's what people sounded like then. Definitely worthy of four stars but not enough for five.

As an afterthought, however, when someone (?) gets around to re-releasing this could they add the other version of 'Q Quarters' (from the 12" B side of the same single)? I think others should hear what, to me, is the better version of this song - even emptier, allowing those vocals to shine through. For that I would give my fifth star.
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