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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodious emotional & sonic extremes
Whereas Kraftwerk navigated the Autobahn at a fairly moderate pace, Alan Vega & Martin Rev often break all speed limits. Controlled, even disembodied vocals characterize the German band's music while Suicide's is pierced by whoops, hollers & gasps. Most of these songs are so beautiful and tuneful that they would have been chart material had they been toned down to the...
Published on 19 Dec 2008 by Pieter Uys

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Synth in the punk age
Sorry. You've got to hand it to these two for swimming against the tide, but for me Suicide's 1977 album doesn't match the hype. When I heard the first track, 'Ghost Rider', my interest was piqued. The combination of Martin Rev's fuzzy synth tones and drum machine with Alan Vega's breathy shudder of a vocal creates an edgy, unsettling atmosphere. It's soon clear, however,...
Published on 14 Oct 2011 by D. J. H. Thorn


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodious emotional & sonic extremes, 19 Dec 2008
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Suicide (Audio CD)
Whereas Kraftwerk navigated the Autobahn at a fairly moderate pace, Alan Vega & Martin Rev often break all speed limits. Controlled, even disembodied vocals characterize the German band's music while Suicide's is pierced by whoops, hollers & gasps. Most of these songs are so beautiful and tuneful that they would have been chart material had they been toned down to the level of say, OMD or Eurythmics. With the exception of the 10 harrowing minutes of Frankie Teardrop, a real piece of "psychobilly," the melodies & hooks are irresistible.

The pulsating Ghost Rider with its ominous drone is quite anthemic, more minimalist than Alan Vega's later solo version. Although still appealing, Rocket USA is eerie & doom-laden while Cheree is a mid-tempo ballad with an enchanting chiming melody unfolding behind the drone. There are lighter, more accessible and highly catchy tracks like Johnny and Girl, another slow number with a hypnotic arrangement & richly textured sounds. The remix of Cheree sounds more soulful & romantic than the original. Its chugging rhythms & yearning vocals give I Remember a melancholic air. Then follows Keep Your Dreams, an addictive ditty with a lilting flow.

Disc 2 consists of 6 live performances recorded at CBGB's. Mr Ray is a heavy but surprisingly subdued interpretation of the Velvets' Sister Ray, Las Vegas Man a musically monotonal but vocally exuberant excursion, and the cover of the 60s pop hit 96 Tears is punctured by crashing sound effects & Vega's yelping. There's a slower and warmer rendition of Keep Your Dreams where the synth sounds like an organ, and a menacing rather than mournful I Remember with some blood-curdling screams and echoing vocals. Sparks fly on the spectacular Harlem with its driving beat where Vega growls & bellows instead of the usual gasping & yelling.

The brutal Brussels performance is cacophonic, dissonant and marred by feedback. Tension builds up through the swearing, booing, chanting and scattered clapping, culminating in the dispute over the microphone. It was quite a riot according to the sleeve-notes, making Elvis Costello for whom they opened, even more caustic than he was in those days.

The band's sound on this album ranges from a unique type of electronic rockabilly to experimental like one of their Mute label-mate bands, The Normal (Warm Leatherette & TVOD), to the accessible territory later explored by The Human League, Eurythmics & OMD. The main difference with Kraftwerk is that in unifying man & machine, the German band restrained the emotions while Suicide does just the opposite by using the electronics to amplify emotions to the extreme. On the later CD A Way of Life, they did take a more pop approach but sacrificed most of the passion. This seminal album remains a masterpiece of electronic pop-rock.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elvis the B-Movie, 18 May 2004
This review is from: First Album (Audio CD)
There really is no way that Suicide's music can be described to someone who hasn't heard it, but I'm going to try... Alan Vega's vocals are always compared to Elvis, but it's almost like an Elvis whose sneers are for real with a dark, brooding delivery. In contrast, Martin Rev produces a droning electronic backing that is sometimes distorted guitar-like and sometimes something like a wind-up nursery toy. The drums are very primitive and verging on the cheesy, and there is rarely a snare sound.
Does this sound like something that you could listen to? Probably not, but when you hear it, you can see how hard it is to put your finger on what it is that makes this band great. The comparisons to other bands just aren't relevant. They are far more minimalist than Kraftwerk, and if they influenced synthesizer duos in the 80's, then there is little evidence of it in 80's music. What they are is an absolutely unique act.
Their first outing is a very primitive affair, but with an approach that says "we don't give a shit about conventions - this is the way we want to do it!". The first thing I wanted to do after I heard it for the first time was play it again, first to see if I really heard what I heard, and because you just need to keep listening to it to take it all in.
The second CD is a worthwhile bonus, giving you some idea of why they were both loved and hated live. The CBGB's set shows why they were loved by their audience, and the '23 Minutes Over Brussels' shows you why they were hated by people whose heads were too filled with the conventions set by the music industry.
Just don't play this before you go to sleep!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute artistic integrity in the face of incomprehension, 18 Sep 2001
By 
Dobester (Istanbul, Turkey) - See all my reviews
This review is from: First Album (Audio CD)
I bought this album after seeing Suicide opening for Elvis Costello and the Attractions in Paris a million years ago. Despite real howls of loathing from the crowd (not yet prepared for Sartrean, or rather Camus-ian nihilism by the Cure and other gothic popsters), Suicide pounded out their hypnotic, psychotic dance music. Suicide had the true punk disdain for all conventions, including those already carved in stone by the punk/new wave nomenklatura. Disturbing and refreshing in equal parts, Suicide, Pere Ubu and Devo all brought an inspired, warped intelligence to bear on the new wave. This album is the forerunner of just about all non-rockist music we listen to today.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic debut album from 1977 with equally great bonus disc., 19 Jan 2004
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Suicide (Audio CD)
The 1998 reissues of Suicide's first two eponymous albums were both wonderful, coming with great sleevenotes, bonus tracks & a second disc of rarities. 1977 was such a strong year for music- Marquee Moon, Low, Trans Europe Express, I Feel Love, The Idiot, Talking Heads debut etc- but this stands out even amid those classics.
The interview in the sleevenotes portrays the band's genus & origin, examples of that early music can be found on the bonus disc with the second album. Alan Vega (Vocals)and Martin Rev (Instruments) were the original duo later mimicked by Soft Cell, influenced by the approach jazz musicians like Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane & Thelonius Monk took (as well as The Stooges), they ended up in the Project of Living Artists, New York. Living in squalor, the romantic life that recurs in things like Ask the Dust, Martin Eden & Tropic of Cancer, they began to develop- living for nothing but their music. Rev found a bowling-pin style machine and this became the DIY-basis for Suicide's music, which was a minimal approach to electronica- where The Ramones played minimal-length tracks, Suicide played an alien minimal music- which could go on a long-time: witness the epic Frankie Teardrop here...
The album opens with Ghost Rider (covered by Soft Cell, REM & Sisters of Mercy), which is the next step on from The Stooges and has lyrics that fit the era perfectly: "America, America is killing its youth...". Next up is Rocket USA (performed a few years ago by Suicide with Spiritualized; Suicide have also played with members of Can & Sisters of Mercy), which opens and drifts into this pulsing thing, hints of rockabilly lost in the past; Alan Vega is Elvis in space...Cheree appears twice- the remixed version from the single released with I Remember and remains a lovely song, really sweet for such a demented and extreme act.
Johnny & Girl sound like an advanced take on The Doors- if The Doors had dropped the bottleneck guitar, drums and rock&roll cliches also! The centre of the album remains Frankie Teardrop, Vega has been warming us up prior- this 10.24 remains one of the most disturbing pieces of music ever, Nick Hornby reasonably wondering in 31 Songs if it's worth listening to something like this? (I think so, but I change my mind all the time). This is one of those extreme works, and one to put on a compilation next to Nico's Lawn of Dawns, Cale's Rose Garden Funeral of Sores & The Pop Group's We Are All Prostitutes. Just that beat and Vega's vocals- the story of a guy whose a bit like Henry in Eraserhead, a regular Blue Collar job (..."just trying to survive")- Vega begins to scream and take us places The Doors' The End bottled out of going to: "Frankie can't make it...cos things are just too hard/Frankie can't make enough money, Frankie can't buy no food, Frankie's got evicted...Frankie, Frankie...(the drones get more intense)Frankie's so desperate, gonna kill his wife & kid/Frankie's gonna kill his kid/Frankie pick up a gun, point it a 6-month old kid in a crib/Oh, Frankie/AAARGH!/Frankie looked at his wife, shot her/AOODISFIFHFHKWHFIHFIHFIHQIFQOIPFOU!!!!!!!/What have I done?????"- those screams of Vega would influence even Bruce Springsteen, listen to Johnny 99. The most disturbing moment is "Frankie put a bullet to his head"- which is followed by strange industrial noises and Vega's sickening screams...
Hard to recover after Frankie Teardrop, though Che (covered by Spacemen 3) is more soothing- a love song to the dead Guevera. The rest of the tracks on the album are as great- I Remember is great in the repetition stakes and Keep Your Dreams (title borrowed by Primal Scream)is a great ending. Producers Craig Leon and Marty Thau captured Suicide in a wonderful manner...
The second disc is more than a curio, containing a six-song set at the fabled CBGBs and the mythic '23 Minutes Over Brussels' performance. The former fits in with Cale in Animal Justice mode, or the late No Wave scene in New York (or should that be No York?). Only I Remember and Keep Your Dreams are from the debut, a great cover of The Quotations' 96 Tears is offerred and three tracks that would appear radically different on the second album (Mr Ray, Las Vegas Man & Harlem). Personally, I prefer the electronics of the second album, but these versions show the band developing. The take of Harlem is way more extreme than things like Caustic Window and Kid 606 since, a pulsing seemingly infinite beat that is almost junglist and lots of insane screaming:"HAAAAAAAAAAARLEMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!"
23 Minutes...ought to be listened to by everyone, ever. You want to be in a band? You want to take abuse from the audience? You want to make art? Roy Trakin's notes in the liner booklet is a wonderful guide, describing this support slot to Elvis Costello & the Attractions in Belguim in detail, "It was something out of The Year of Living Dangerously meets Nosferatu. Suicide had evoked a similar reaction supporting The Clash, did it matter which buttons they pressed in the audience, whether the reaction was good or bad? They begin to perform, Ghost Rider-Rocket USA-Dance...finally we arrive at Frankie Teardrop and the crowd are becoming too much. Vega tries to relate their own life to Frankie's, looking for sympathy- they just want to do their thing. "We're all Frankies" he points out, attempting to get the mic back "C'mon???"- the audience holler abuse, you think Pop Idols get it in the ear? Suicide admit defeat and leave the stage; but in the long-term, they won and this, one of the greatest live albums, is the proof.
This double-disc set is a brilliant purchase, screaming (literally) good value and comes with one of the great album covers of all time. This and it's 1980 follow-up are must haves and one side of the myriad of joys in this golden era; all hail Rev & Vega: you know you want to! Is there anything more wonderful or positive than Vega telling us to Keep Our Dreams?- those lines alone a worth more than a library in self-help books!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deserted island disc, 29 July 2009
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Suicide (Audio CD)
The syntheis between Little Richard, Elvis and Kraftwerk combing the emotional psyche and the passion- sex (Girl, Cheree) nihilism (Ghostrider) existential anguish (Frankie Teardrop)and politics (Che). Like Kraftwerk and Little Richard, Suicide created a template. It's not their fault that what came after was just a pale imitation any more than the Sex Pistols could be blamed for U2 or the Cockney Rejects. It's just the imitators never really got the emotion, only the frippery and converted it into $$$. Two men who took on the world created their own sonic revolution. The legacy goes to them, the problem is no one else ever came close after they appeared and dissolved.

It also says something about the autism of public taste and the second disc documents the hostility.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electronic Rockabilly Masterpiece, 29 Nov 2002
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: First Album (Audio CD)
These songs are so beautiful, melodic and tuneful that they could have been chart material had they been released and promoted in the 80s. Well with the exception of Frankie Teardrop which is harrowing to listen to, a real piece of "psychobilly". Ghost Rider with its ominous drone is quite an anthem, more minimalist than Alan Vega's later solo version, Rocket USA is eerie & doom-laden, Cheree, Johnny and Girl are lighter, whilst I Remember and Keep Your Dreams are incredibly evocative synthpop masterpieces. On Disc 2, 96 Tears, Keep Your Dreams & I Remember are outstanding, but The Brussels performance is cacophonic and hard to appreciate. It must have been quite a riot, though. To me, their sound ranges from a type of electronic rockabilly to the territory later explored by Eurythmics, Peter Baumann, OMD and some of the Mute label bands like The Normal (Warm Leatherette)and Silicon Teens. This is a masterpiece of electronic pop.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense, 19 July 2003
This review is from: Suicide (Audio CD)
Apparently Alan Vega, Suicide's lead singer, coined the term punk as a genre in 1971, or so he claims. This music is starkly powerful, minimalist synths and drums, almost tribal in it's repetition. Vega croons over the electro backing with the unshakeable self confidence that all New york (and Manchester) frontmen display.
The two highlights could not be more different in tone. 'Cherie' is close to a pop love song, and quite touching in the context of the album. 'Frankie Teardrop' though, bestrides the album like a monolith, and everything else revolves around it. It is a song everybody should hear at least once to know the power of music to terrify. Vega tells the story of Frankie, a worker on the verge of insanity, over a single, inevitable heartbeat drum. I will not say how it climaxes for anyone planning to listen to it, but the final, primal howls as the track spins out are genuinely bloodcurdling.
This edition has the bonus live disc, with the excellent live document 23 minutes over Brussels, which is one of the most entertaining live albums ever. Buy this album, it will truly change your perspective on music.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the two best albums ever; both by Suicide..., 15 July 2001
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: First Album (Audio CD)
This debut LP is one of the definitive punk records- but is also avant-garde, new wave, futurist, minimal electronica...whatever- it is a key record of the 70's and is as good as 'Marquee Moon', 'Horses', 'Tago Mago', 'Unknown Pleasures', 'The Modern Dance', 'Secondhand Daylight', '154', 'Entertaiment', 'Metal Box' and the Bowie/Eno trilogy (if I haven't forgotten 'Trans Europe Express' or the 1st 2 Human League...)...It is worth owning for the cover, for the belief in their music and for the eloborate extras courtesy of this Blast First reissue...One of the bands Suicide influenced was Spacemen 3- who covered 'Che' (see 'Playing with Fire') and whose spin-off band Spiritualized performed a great version of 'Rocket USA' with Suicide...though their version is not as pure as the one here...'Ghost Rider' is the ultimate rock song-sampled by Bentley Rhythm Ace- a mutant minimal synth classic-Steve Reich meets The Stooges...WE get two lovely versions of 'Cheree'- a dreamy drone and it's flip-side 'I Remember'- as lovely as Beat Happening's 'Indian Summer'...'Keep your dreams' has famously been pilfered by Primal Scream for their 'XTRMNTR' homage and is a statement of their artistic purity and self-belief (see disc 2's '23 Minutes...' to see how far this belief took 'em!)...'Johnny' & 'Girl' are throwaway Jerry Lee Lewis meets William S Burroughs fillers- the bowling pin drum machine of Martin Rev a Beckettian metronome throughout...The key track is 'Frankie Teardrop'- as overblown as The Doors 'The End' or The Velvets 'The Gift'. It's very 'Eraserhead' (as Pere Ubu). It is one of the most hardcore songs ever- the screams & wails of Alan Vega evoke the hell of poor Frankie's existence...it's confrotational and makes complete sense if you've read BS Johnson to Chuck Pahulinuk...Suicide are the 'Midnight Cowboy' of the NY Punk scene...left to rot- but influencing Depeche Mode, Sonic Youth, NIN, Soft Cell, Cabaret Voltaire. EVERYONE. Plus, Lester Bangs called them boring- which was part of their point!...Disc Two offers a concert from 1977- supporting THe Ramones at CBGB's (the excellent interview in the liner notes reveal they had to play the same set twice as Joey & Co hadn't turned up!!!)Their demolition of '96 Tears' is correct: melting the psyhedelia down to something close to nothing...'Harlem' is astonishing- a wall of screams and a pulsing drumbeat reminsicent of hardcore gabba/drum'n'bass (and is much better than the version on the 2nd album- tho' you can hear the words on that one!). 'Mr Ray' & 'Las Vegas Man' are in flux and would be vastly improved on by Ric Ocasek for the 2nd LP...We end with '23 Minutes over Brussels'- which as exciting/confrontational as The Stooges ace 'Metallic KO'. The band weren't goin' down well supporting Elvis Costello in Belguim-we get 'Ghost Rider', 'Rocket USA', 'Dance'- to a gaggle of idiot hecklers who eventually steal the mic during 'Frankie Teardrop'...Vega pleads with the audience- they're just poor, passionate artists. The cry of "F**k You!!!" to herd-like applause is one of the most depressing things ever. Very Frankie Teardrop...I bet some of the gimps from that night love Suicide now and talk up that night!...Despite the cost- this double cd is well worth it- a seminal document of a time. Proof that if a band is given financial support it can produce a significant collection of art...Probably one of the two best albums ever. Both are called 'Suicide'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars arrived promply and very satisfied custoner, 22 Feb 2014
By 
Glenn Paul "ZenGlenn" (Portland Dorset.UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Suicide (Audio CD)
Very happy with the prompt arrival and a great musical revisitation of a band I saw support the clash back in 78 and sounds just as God now as it did back then.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Suicide's First., 11 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Suicide (Audio CD)
There may be renewed interest due to Bruce covering one of their songs, but to be honest this first album needs no endorsement. It is a classic. The extras on this version are very good and well worth a listen, but the album alone is an essential part of your collection.
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First Album by Suicide (Audio CD - 2000)
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