3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2006
For anyone familiar with Alison Statton's and Ian Devine's previous work in Young Marble Giants, Weekend, and Ian
Devine's Ludus, this first album collaboration was something to shout from the rooftops. Coming out first in 1989, there weren't many groups at the time producing this kind of uplifting, airy, and melodic pop music - modern day Celtic folk might be a good description. The album begins with the single 'Under The Weather', a song which has the melancholic, but wry qualities of The Beautiful South's early material. When Alison sings that she's feeling down 'under the weather' she sounds like she could be reading her shopping list. But, anyone, familiar with her work, will know why her reading of the song works; the dispassion adding a humour and a sort of playfulness to the lyric. The next track 'Friend Of The Family' is one of my favourites, with added violin from Blaine L Reininger (Tuxedomoon), it has the brisk, acoustic quality of most of the songs on the album. I also love Devine's lyrics, of the character who first attempts to find meaning through politics, and then religion - and who else would try to fit the word 'anomaly' into a song? Mention also must go to Alison's Statton's vocals which have a real clear, and emotional maturity on this album. Next, appears an amazing and unique cover of New Order's 'Bizarre Love Triangle', stripping the song of its drum machines and synths, it goes to show what good writers Bernard Sumner etc were when removed from eighties production values. In a better world, this song might have been a surprise hit single. The rest of the album is just as good, with personal favourites being the eerie, 'We Deserve It', 'I Wish It Was', in which Alison sings 'I wish I was the Prince Of Wales' over an appealing jingle-jangle melody, and the brilliant, 'Turn The Aerials Away From England'. The title of the song is a reference to the poor TV reception in the valleys, this Smiths-like tune, which breathes Welsh Nationalism, would make any Welsh person proud - sort of a post-punk national anthem. The last song 'Ugly Town' sees the beauty behind the crumbling facades of an old town. Evocative and moving, once again, there's a Morrissey feel to the lyrics, and it brings a warm ending to what is a stunning album. Quite simply, one of my favourite albums of all time, which lives up to the quality of Devine and Statton's earlier groups.
Mention, must also go to James Nice's LTM reissue label, which has brought out again this long forgotten album, with extra tracks, sleevenotes, and photos. I haven't been let down by any of LTM's compilations yet.