on 4 October 2006
My personal view is that this is among Tom Verlaine's best post-Television albums. It's certainly stronger than Words From The Front or the Warm and Cool instrumental album, and stands quite comfortably with Flash Lightning, Dreamtime and his eponymous first album as the apotheosis of this brilliant and quirky artist's work. "Stalingrad", "Kaleidescopin'" (sic) and "Prayer" stand out for me. Simply superb!
on 26 July 2004
Tom Verlaine's shimmering 1989 masterpiece remains criminally under-valued - even the normally reliable AMG guide felt unable to recommend it.
For me, though, this is right up there with the man's best Television work: phenomenal musicianship, awesome tunes - I defy anyone to listen to 'Stalingrad' and not want to get up and throw a few post-modern shapes, maaaan - and baffling lyrics.
Also baffling is the original album's, er, understated-ness. There are no lyrics, no musicians, no photos, thank yous or any of the other paraphernalia associated with albums. It's almost as though Verlaine wanted to strip everything back to the basics, and force the listener to concentrate on the only thing that remains: the music. He richly succeeds.
I have to be honest and admit that I haven't heard the remastered version as it was pulled by the record company who was thinking of releasing it. I do have the original release on vinyl and CD and can recommend it as a close second to 'Flashlight' as one of Verlaine's best peices of work.
The record has some of the most melodic tracks but without sacrificing Verlaine's extraordinary ability to create mystery and tension throughout his songs. From the opening straight forward stripped down psychedelia of 'Kaleidescopin' through to the rather beautiful 'prayer' the usual time-drops of WWII imagery, lost people and fringe underworld figures emerge on to the stage to state their cases. I find myself whistling the main refrain from '5 hours from Calais' on many a day.
It's a great record with which Verlaine signed off his contract with Fontana. The relationship was rather fraught due to limited sales, hence the lack of any substantial packaging with the original release.
on 24 March 2013
I've had this on vinyl since originally released (1989?) but haven't had a turntable for best part of a decade. I bought its predecessor, Flash light, on CD a while ago. That's a great album and I had a rellection this one's just as good. It isn't. Setting aside the very eighties drum sound, the songs, particularly the guitar parts, seem underdeveloped and the vocal style suggests Tom hasn't really got much enthusiasm for delivering most of this material. Pity.