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22
4.7 out of 5 stars
The Vermilion Border
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2012
It's been a long time coming but we finally have a full album from Viv (formerly of The Slits). It kicks off with 'I Want More' with a riff to peel your face off as Viv sings, 'No compromise, I want more!'. It's followed by 'Confessions of a MILF' and the tales of the little wife in her home sweet home. Viv recorded the song in Mick Jone's mobile studio (they have history together). Jack Bruce joins her on 'In Vitro' and other guest bassists include Tina Weymouth, Glen Matlock and Dennis Bovell (who produced The Slits' first album).

Viv has a lovely way with words and the start of 'Hookup Girl' opens with, 'In another town You would be a whore, But in North London You are just a bore'. 'Don't Believe' contrasts the things Viv believes in and doesn't believe in, from love to trilobites (how often do you see that word in song lyrics?). 'Still England' closes the record and lists all the things that make England the place it is.

Poly Styrene is name-checked in 'Still England'. Viv knew Poly and it's lovely to see her include Poly in her list of iconic Englanders, along with Virginia Woolf, Dusty Springfield, Keith and Mick, The Kinks and T.Rex. She also includes,' Sid The Vicious, John The Rotten, Alfred The Great, Dot The Cotton'.

This is exactly the kind of record you'd expect from Viv - post-punk for the 21st century, jagged guitar, challenging, no-prisoners, looking back and forwards at the same time. Riffs to scrape your face off and words to make you smile. In other words, a classic album that everyone should hear.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2012
As a member of the Slits Viv Albertine did her unique thing for girls in bands `back in the day' (I put that term in quotes because `the day' isn't something in the past if this album is anything to go by)

But it's not about anger anymore, not that the Slits ever were. Albertine now is about what might be called home truths, and we're not talking middle-class platitudes here if "Confessions of a MILF" is anything to go by. Rather it's a matter of the right to live one's life as one chooses, which on one level is exactly what The Slits were all about by dint of their being.

Anger's no good to anyone if it's merely some nihilistic thing anyway, and Albertine knows this. So there's no anger in "Hookup Girl" but rather the conversion of some mundane life situation into art, which of course is the best thing that can be made of it.

Bass was always an integral part of the Slits' punky reggae mash-up and she's fortunate in having everyone from Norman Watt-Roy to Jack Bruce turning up for the duty on this album. The combined work of Richard Pike and Toby Strain on "The False Heart" gives the song a kind of hypnotic air which combines with Albertine's vaguely obsessive lyric to make for one of the album's highlights. On the opening "I Want More" Watt-Roy obviously knows he wasn't getting paid by the note because he's understated yet still able to impart more than enough impetus.

So we can forget references to the fem-punk flag flying once again because they're just lazy. It's clear from this album that despite the narcotic, still-resonating thrill of the Slits, Albertine's moved on and quite rightly too. Too much present day music is too in thrall to the past anyway, so listen, listen (especially as she name checks Derek Bailey on "Still England" ..........bless her heart)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This album is quirky and original. Viv's guitar work is as inventive and unpredictable as ever and the lyrics range from laugh out loud amusing to raw introspection via clever insights into the human condition. Each track features a guest bass player which adds to the eclectic feel. Good work !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2014
Viv Albertine is definitely a one-off, and is obviously no stranger to painful honesty about her life. She's also very observant and witty, as the lyrics to this album demonstrate amply. Growing older, relationships, reminiscence and making sense of quite a bit of what's happened to her and to Britain since the 1970s, the way the personal and political intersect, dreams; they're are all there. Every track has its own very distinct style, so things rapidly head in all sorts of directions after the opening quasi rock anthem, the insistent 'I want more'. Some have a commercial edge (Becalmed (I should have known)), some are dreamy (The Madness of Clouds), some have a nagging, nightmarish quality (Don't Believe, The False Heart, Little Girl in a Box), but none of them go where you'd expect from a more conventional artist. This album continues the punk ethos to music without being in any way punk, and is also determinedly free of the macho side of that genre. The strengths of this album are the words and the originality of the ideas and arrangements in it. Viv would probably agree that she doesn't have the strongest singing voice, and in some places the vocals are quite thin and struggling a bit. Anyone who was inspired by the new wave revolution of 1976-9, but appreciates that music needs to move forward rather than simply to relive the past, will appreciate what this album is trying to do, and find it striking a chord somewhere along the way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The gorgeous and ever youthful Ms Albertine has produced an album that is entertaining, enjoyable and at times challenging. I have not always been able to keep abreast with her work after leaving The Slits and so was delighted to find this album available and to learn just how active she has been in the media and music industries.

The music here is very diverse and goes across a wider part of the music spectrum than I might have thought. The sounds are clever, intelligent and witty and although Viv is perhaps not the best singer in the world she nevertheless does them justice here.

This is a very worthwhile album and I would urge you to give it a listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2014
The Vermillion Border is a truly fascinating portrait of what happens to a fiftysomething female artist and sometime housewife who goes off the rails in a really interesting fashion. The music is wierd in the nicest possible way combining forceful drum rhythms set against a backing that sounds psychedelic, in other words it transcends eras and fashion styles. "Still England" is a fascinating melange of the interesting fragments of phrases and names from right across the spectrum of existence. There are mood pieces and experiences that don't make snap analysis easy. She is so many miles away from the sort of rock artist who runs out of things to say and I'm highly interested in what Viv Albertine, one time guitarist for the Slits female punk band and interesting artist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2014
the most original record for years ... and years
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2014
When I first bought this album I assumed Ms. Albertine had been making music for the last thirty years after the Slits broke up. I had no idea she had entriely retired from music and this was her first full length effort in ages! With a strong whiff of KrautRock (surely that is a harsh, racist term...why do we still use it?) and a frank, perhaps too frank for some, lyrical appraisal of the war between the sexes this is an incredibly strong platter and she should be proud of it. Go buy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2013
Viv Albertine has long been someone much admired by those who loved the music of the Slits from the late 70's and early 80's and this album is everybit as good. Clever, inciteful lyrics blend with contemperary music provided by her and her excellent fellow muscians. An excellent set well worth purchasing. Confessions of a Milf, Hook Up Girl and Still England being my favourites at the moment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2014
Read an article in the grauniad about her book so had a look for her music on Amazon...it's really kool, lyrics are funny and independent. In the article she comments "Will I ever meet another guy now that I've written it?" ...dunno what she is like in person but she seems amusing and talented- a catch for any man who isn't scared of women. Great to hear songs like this.
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