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Seeing Was Believing,
This review is from: Jerky Version of The Dream (Audio CD)For me Magazine fell apart when the late, great John McGeoch decamped to join the Banshees. Nobody could blame him because having recorded and released one of the finest albums in the post punk genre with 'The Correct Use of Soap' Magazine just still could not get the recognition they deserved.
Howard Devoto and the rest of the band soldiered on for a stop gap live album and one last studio album but the road was fraught with difficulties. John McGeoch, then adding an amazing grandeur to what was the finest Banshees line-up was too big a miss to fill. Neither Robin Simon ('Play') not Ben Mandelson ('Magic, Murder and the Weather') could come anywhere near filling his shoes.
When I heard the single 'About the Weather' I thought 'Magic, Murden and the Weather' would be a box of delights. Instead, when it was released, it proved to be a turgid and disappointing end to the career of a truly great band. Fortunately, Devoto had already realised that and announced the dissolution of Magazine as the final album was released.
What does a genius do when under-employed? Devoto managed to take us all by suprise when under two years after the end of Magazine he bounced back on the stage with 'Jerky Versions of the Dream'.
I bought it on vinyl on the day of it's release and was quite honestly blown away. It is the logical successor to 'The Correct Use of Soap' in many ways. A tight backing band, featuring a few members of Magazine and some others with a Magazine association. Fantastic keyboard and Piano by Dave Formula and most importantly, Alan St Clair, a guitarist very much in the John McGeoch mould. What a discovery he was - his on-stage presence was so McGeoch you did a double take!
Most suprising is the up tempo nature of the songs. Devoto had come a long way from his angst ridden two minute throwaway sonic poems with Buzzcocks and by 1983 produced as fine a set of songs to grace any album. Clever lyrics, sprightly arrangements and all augmented with some very tasty and deft piano work from Dave Formula.
Live the band were as good as Magazine and Devoto seemed relaxed and to be enjoying himself. Of course, as ever for Devoto, the breakthrough never came and a follow up did not happen. It was almost as tragic as the break up of Magazine - if ever music deserved a wider audience it is this.
This CD re-issue was sneaked out last year, after the re-issue of the digitially remastered Magazine albums. A travesty of justice, again robbing Devoto of his just deserts and some recognition. This really is up there with the first three Magazine albums and I can't recommend it strongly enough.
Particularly good are the three Peel session tracks which are more guitar driven than they appear on the album and are a snapshot of what the Man was like live on stage at the time. Cherished memories. Seeing really is believing and making do.