|2. Decline And Fall|
|3. Sweethome Under White Clouds|
|4. Bau - Dachong|
|5. Pagan Lovesong|
|6. Dave - Id Is Dead|
|8. Baby Turns Blue|
|9. Ballad Of The Man|
|10. Walls Of Jericho|
|11. Caucasian Walk|
|12. Theme For Thought|
|13. Chance Of A Lifetime|
The band were more interested in putting their audience through an artistic experience than entertaining them, often to startling effect in live performance. For one segment of the show, dubbed the 'Pig Children', the Two Frontmen Gavin Friday and Guggi would roll around in fake muck with Pigs heads, regressing themselves back to children. The theory being that the only truly honest things on the planet are animals and children. These themes were further explored in the wonderful follow-up to this album, 'Heresie'.
'If I die, I die' is undoubtedly the bands most fully formed creation and can be favourably compared to any other of the great albums of the period. This is an ambitious work with a suitably huge production to convey the weight of the dark musings of the vocalists. The album starts with 'Ulakanakulot', a short instrumental effective in building the tension which segues into 'Decline and Fall' with it's ominous thudding bassline. On 'Decline and Fall' Friday gives us his best Bowie impression (in his more histrionic moments) which is totally in keeping with the songs melody which resembles the title track from 'Station to Station'.
'Sweethome under White Clouds' would have us believe that the band were listening to recent Japan records like 'Gentlemen take Polaroids'. The sax line is very similar to Mick Karn's work on tracks like 'Methods of Dance'. The next track 'Bau-Dachong' is a definite highlight of the first side, the band really takes flight getting into a 'Throbbing Gristle' style groove. It's also the song in which the immortal line which gives the album its title is uttered. 'Pagan Lovesong' gives us the first truly chant-a-long lines of the album with "I had a weird dream, Look but don't touch!" A scintillating version was included on the live segment of 'Heresie' which is preferable to the studio version, due to the remarkable guitar riffing of Dik Evans (brother of U2's the Edge).
Dik really shines on that album with his waves of distortion, echo and feedback, he must be up there for consideration in the all time great anti-heroes of guitar. The live version reveals that the genesis of the song was probably the rap-rock records of 'The Clash' from their 'Sandanista' era, especially 'Lightning strikes'.
With 'Dave-Id is Dead', third vocalist Dave-Id Busarus gives us his thoughts on isolation over a PIL type backing. Dik even treats us to a Keith Levene style angular guitar solo while the bass and drums propel the song along. The first side of the album comes to a close with 'Fado' which is an Irish word meaning 'long ago'. This is an instrumental dominated by Dik's cyclical guitar line before a piano heavily treated with echo brings the track to a conclusion.
The Second side opens with the irresistibly dark 'Baby Turns Blue'. The track became something of an underground (death) disco hit as a result of its pulsing mechanised beats and catchy bass riff. The lyrics are what really set the track apart with the repeated refrain of "what do we do if the baby turns blue", Gav and Guggi take it in turns to sing the peculiar lines. This followed by an oddity (even by the bands standards) 'Ballad of the Man'. The track doesn't have any place on this album as it's a fully fledged genre prank pushed home with a straight face. The track is, as the title may suggest, a pastiche of several songs of Bruce Springsteen. The driving force behind the song is Dave-id who takes the lead vocal. The song has typical Springsteen lyrics and most resembles the "four-minute-operas" of 'Darkness on the edge of town`. Dik's guitar solo is a definite nod to Springsteen's on 'Streets of Fire' (I wonder if he played this on a telecaster?)
Following on from that excursion is the one of the best songs the band ever wrote 'Walls of Jericho'. The song has an anthemic quality with religious references which would place it alongside the kinds of things that U2 were doing on their 'October' album (Rejoice, Gloria etc.). The brothers Evans have never sounded so similar. 'Caucasian Walk' is the definite highlight of the album, the vocalists sound like John Lydon having a nightmare and the backing is extremely industrial. It features the classic line "Political problems, sexual frustrations won't end" amongst others. Chaotic live versions appeared on 'Heresie'.
The track 'Theme for thought' was a band favourite. It was bafflingly chosen to be performed on Irish chat-show 'The Late Late Show', which had a reputation for breaking young bands at the time. They performed the song with Gavin Friday sitting at a table with two girls and Dave-Id breaking through security to give out sweets to the audience. The conservative viewers were not amused by the subversive antics and the performance remains the most complained about broadcast in Irish TV history.
The final two tracks 'Chance of a lifetime' and 'Yeo' move the sound further into synthetic terrain with metallic beats recalling 'Joy Division' and a few muted lyrics bringing the album to a wonderfully abstract conclusion.
Alas the band would never be this focused again and we`d have to wait until 1995 for Gavin Friday's peerless album 'Shag Tobacco' to get the next instalment of brilliance. The reissue features exceptional sound quality and full lyrics. The album is simply a must for anybody with an interest in compiling the great albums of the early eighties.
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