on 6 March 2004
To call LC by the Durutti Column anything other than difficult would be, in a sense, somewhat misleading to those of you thinking of making the purchase. The music here is dense, ambient, and deeply atmospheric... moving in and out of different styles freely, whilst traversing a path that encompasses everything from ethereal summer jazz, to cloudy industrialist desolation. The effect is something like a combination of the Style Council and Can, if that particular band happened to be fronted by an even more morose Ian Curtis. Incidentally, the spirit of Curtis and, to an extent Joy Division is stamped all over this work... from the crystal-clear production of Martin Hannett on the bonus disk, to the Curtis tribute song, the Missing Boy.
Reilly’s vocals are both idiosyncratic and impressionistic, filled with a sort of limp detachment, which strangely enough, makes the songs all the more emotional... whilst the moody and ambient guitar parts weave in and out of one another to create a lush and dreamy sound-scape for the listener to immerse themselves in. Reilly’s voice is at times droning, which lends itself to the hypnotic impassiveness of the musical arrangements, something that could be said about the use of percussion of PIL’s the Flowers of Romance or the use of background guitar on the majority of Eno’s 70’s work. It gives a song like Sketch for Dawn I, the album’s introduction, or the instrumental piece Portrait for Frazer, a completely alien quality... it represents a staggering change of pace from the late 70’s into the early 80’s and certainly acts as something of a precursor to the more relaxed, grown-up territory of mid-80’s punk fall out bands like the Jam, the Police and the Attractions.
It can at times be a deeply inconsistent listen... largely due to Reilly’s scatterbrain diversity (and it certainly isn’t a record you would want to listen to before beginning your day). The other reviewer summed it up best as a ‘night-time’ record, and the comparisons with Pink Moon and a band like Labradford, with the music existing in it’s own nocturnal little world shut off from the influence of everything else around it. Stuff like Jacqueline (an instrumental love song with more poetry than Wordsworth), Act Committed and Detail for Paul have some of the most beautiful musical sounds ever committed to tape, with Reilly opening his heart to us like the proverbial bedroom poet, though, unlike the majority of others, is able to reach an audience (albeit a somewhat small one; with Reilly being in the upper-echelons of all-time cult artists) and share with us these astounding passages of sound.
It takes a few listens to really relax into the singular strangeness of what Reilly was doing with the band at the time of this record’s release... what with the pop charts saturated with synth acts like ABC, Tears for Fears and Duran-Duran... this however, is closer to the likes of Public Image, Joy Division, Mark Hollis and early period Fall, with Reilly putting his emotions at the fore and allowing his mumbled vocals to guide us right through to the end (or the dawn, for that matter). It takes dedication... but once the music reveals itself to us, the results are often mesmerising.
on 19 July 2005
I first heard this album when auditioning a turntable in a hifi shop listening room in 1983. Hypnotised by it - and much to the shop owner's annoyance - I listened to the whole album right there and then, finally leaving the shop with both the turntable and the album. Over time the turntable proved to be a disappointment, while the album lives on to this day. An odd album though, I don't really know how to recommend it here without echoing what the other reviewers have said, except perhaps to say that it is incomparable and would be perfect for those who can imagine black and white bleak landscapes... Now if you get my meaning there, you should buy it straight away and - on hearing it for the first time - just let yourself go somewhere else for a while...
on 7 January 2004
LC is the first album on which the Durutti Column started to sound like the Durutti column, thanks to a quick change of guitar (to a stratocaster), producer and personnel. All the sounds on this album are actually wonderful. "Jacqueline", in particular is a true master guitarist at work, sounding like a love song without any words. Both "sketch for dawn" I and II are great, one an uptempo affair while the other is distinctly depressed, showing both sides of waking up, as far as I'm concerned, as sometimes I bound out of bed, and at others I just want to crawl back under the covers and go back to sleep. As everyone else has mentioned, "Never Known" is a particular highlight, as is the ode to recently deceased (back then) Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, entitled "The Missing Boy", in which the discovery of Reilly's Piano Skills as a counterpoint to his guitar playing is a true revelation. In short, this is a great album in all ways - a singularly recognisable and gorgeous sound put into well arranged pieces of music and the first sound of Durutti's voice - the speak-singing of Reilly himself. Always a bone of contention among those who hear these records (at least, those I know), I believe that it is extremely important that Vini Reilly expresses himself through his own voice, especially on records as personal as this one clearly is. It merely adds another layer to his individual sound. To sum up I would say that this is the best early durutti album there is - a great place to start!
on 23 August 2000
Picking up where the debut 'Return of..' left off, LC sees the trademark echoey guitar and warm electronic beats of that album supplemented by Bruce Mitchell's supple cymbal-less drums and Vini's first instrument, the piano. It's all pretty much variations on a theme, but what a theme ! Pretty much suitable to relax and think over to at any time of the year, songs like 'Sketch for Dawn' and 'Never Known' (my all time favourite DC moment) also features Reilly's wistful, smudged vocals for the first time. There's a few extra bonus tracks added on too, none of them fillers, and the original of 'The Missing Boy' (a tribute to Joy Division's Ian Curtis, who had died the previous year - 1980), which became a staple in DC's live set for years to come. This is truly beautiful album on many levels and along with 'Bread and Circuses' and 'Vini Reilly' their best; given the price well worth a throw. Indulge yourself..I'm so confident you'll like it I've even let you know where to find me.
LC initially surfaced on the mythic Factory label in 1981, the follow-up to the wonderful debut The Return of the Durutti Column (1980). I only knew Vini Reilly from Morrissey's debut Viva Hate (1988), on which he is stunning & the cover version of Without Mercy's Smile in the Crowd found on Martin Gore's Counterfeit e.p. (1989). So, this set of DC reissues on Factory Once/London are very welcome- especially as they come with nice liner notes and a wealth of bonus tracks.
LC is one of those nighttime records, like Pink Moon, The Marble Index, I See a Darkness, A-Z and The Perfect Presciption. People moan about Vini Reilly not being much of a singer, but I come from a world that beleives that some of the best singers ever are non-singers: Lou Reed, Martin Bramah, Mark E Smith, John Lydon, Robert Forster, Nico etc. The ten tracks that were LC are not always sung, though the opening Sketch for Dawn I is great- Reilly's voice ("in the dawn, in the dawn") perfectly suiting the guitars and percussion.
Reilly and percussionist Bruce Mitchell recorded this material on tape from ambient guitar explorer Bill Nelson in Prestwich- I'm so glad that such great music has been reissued. Reilly doesn't sing on all of these tracks- he doesn't need to- Portrait for Frazer and Jaqueline sound lovely and the allusions to bands like Labradford, GSYBE! etc are not wide of the mark.
Sketch for Dawn II is more of that sublime stuff, Reilly's vocals not far from Bernard Sumner's on Movement (an album I can't listen to) & some lovely piano also. The two tracks from the latter half that really standout for me are The Missing Boy (a tribute to Ian Curtis, who worked on the DIY-sleeves of DC's debut album) and Never Known- which has Reilly's not quite there vocals, an industrial shudder and the most gorgeous guitars this side of Eno's On Land...
The bonus tracks are all great- the Sordide Sentimental record Danny/Enigma; the oddity One Christmas for Your Thoughts (found on Michel Duval's 1988 Christmas album) & three tracks produced by the legendary Martin Hannett (For Mimi, Belgian Friends & Self Portrait). They're all wonderful, though For Mimi remains my favourite of the three...
LC is a great reissue and one that deserves an audience a few decades after its release: Lotta Continua...
on 10 October 2006
I first heard it in '83. It's haunting, peculiar, and totally unlike anything else ever recorded. I do like "Guitar and Other Machines" better, and it is my favorite LP of the past 25 years. GOM is more accessable, but it is less unique. On LC, cuts like "Never Known" have joined the very short list of songs that I can't be without. Even more - its mark is indelible, and that's just fine.
on 28 August 2007
Vini Reilly's LC is a subtle and understated, albeit rather dark, sophomore album (it is like a counterpart to New Order's equally sombre debut album, Movement). But, in typically perverse Factory Records fashion, what makes this re-issued album really worth buying are the bonus tracks. The Martin Hannett-produced trio For Mimi, Belgian Friends, and Self-Portrait, are as close to musical perfection as you're ever likely to hear. The first of this heavenly trio sets a superbly funky jazz break (produced perfectly, of course) against Vini's languid guitar extemporising. It sounds like funked-up, mellowed-out Joy Division, if such a thing makes sense. As for Belgian Friends- it is simply sublime- the song bubbles along with beautiful, almost imperceptably subtle chord changes, and the instrumentation is exquisite- almost rapturously beautiful. Self-Portrait has yet another crisp, tight drumbeat off-set by deliciously wonky guitar treatments, while the obbligato of the keyboards adds a classical touch. The other bonus tracks are, unbelievably, almost as good, especially A Christmas for your Thoughts. They are worth the price of the album by themselves.
But what about the album itself? Well, its subtle, its moody and introspective, but despite standouts like Never Known and The Act Committed, it could have done with a sprinkling of Martin Hannett's magic dust (that is- his production skills, not his drugs!) Also, the drumming on the album proper is noticably less tight compared with the bonus tracks, which featured a brilliant funk drummer called Donald Johnston, who sadly fell out with Reilly before the album was recorded. This is a pity, because it's mouth-watering to think what the album would have sounded like with that guy on board.
It may sound perverse, but buy it for the bonus tracks, even though the album itself is pretty good as well.
on 3 November 2012
LC.Sounds as great today as it always did.Timeless.The sound of the drum machine played thru the space echo just kills me.I love this record in a way that I cant really describe.
Music changes - sounds evolve - styles and fads come and go. LC is one of those rare records that kinda operates outwith all that. It really is a special record.
on 4 July 2000
I challenge anyone who is moved by the beauty and 'moroseness' of Godspeed You Black Emperor's soundscapes, or Labradford's first and last track on 'e luxo so', or even the acoustic minor-key tear jerker that is Shack's Daniella, and other miserable ditties of similar delicate grace, not to be blown away by Vini's epic 'Never Known' or 'Sketch For Dawn 2' off this 'LC' album. Simply stunning; the perfect rainy night, feeling like shit soundtrack. Try also his Bread and Circuses album, one of my essential desert island discs. Enjoy!
on 25 June 2000
Recorded in 1981, this was at the time the 2nd LP of Vini Reilly under the name of Durutti Column. In this record he found the perfect companion for his guitar, the drums of Bruce Mitchell. This is an absolutely charming record, that after 20 years still keeps all of his appeal. Introspective, but yet full of images that take us to the open fields of England in the spring or in the Autumn, this is a profound and delightfull piece of music, going directly to our senses.