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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Terminal Tower
Format: Audio CD|Change

on 20 March 2012
I've had four of these songs on a 12" for over 25yrs so finding them on digital is good news. I love David Thomas' voice & the accompanying background sound effects that are Pere Ubu's trademark. These songs are singles not found on any albums, IIRC. It's great to hear Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Final Solution after a such a long break from vinyl.
Hardly mainstream but Thomas's dark lyrics & fabulously fractured delivery illuminates aspects of life we often prefer to not explore too deeply - Pere Ubu does it for us & very well indeed! Do look for Pere Ubu on YouTube - Thomas is not a singer who just stands up & sings - he is wonderfully animated!
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on 1 July 2013
Saw a reunion tour a few months ago, realised I didn't have any of their stuff, so a great way to reacquaint self with genius.
Got 2 copies, 1 for a mate who got the gig tickets.

Easy to find old material by obscure group. Safe and sound delivery. All happy.
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on 14 May 2015
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on 31 March 2016
Over its 11 tracks this 1985 compilation documents the swift evolution of these industrial art-rockers, between 1975 and 1980. It begins that task with the startling, boundary-shatteringly bleak ‘30 Seconds Over Tokyo’, ‘Final Solution’, and ‘Heart Of Darkness’. That mid-70s trio show that Joy Division’s melancholic, Black Sabbath-influenced post-punk style wasn’t quite as groundbreakingly original as some of their more excitable acolytes would have you think. Amidst the white noise, horn honks and random machine clatter that provide the sonic backdrop to Terminal Tower, other highlights here include, an early version of ‘The Modern Dance’ called ‘Untitled’, the swaying ‘Heaven’ - which recalls Patti Smith's ‘Redondo Beach’ - and the quiet-loud ‘My Dark Ages’.

However, a couple of the later tracks on this chronologically-arranged collection aren't quite as captivating. The arrhythmic 'The Book Is On The Table' is particularly grating. Built around a cassette recording of a woman practising a French lesson, it is a reminder that the group - who took their name from proto-surrealist playwright Alfred Jerry’s controversial play Ubu Roi - didn’t see it as necessarily important to shift units. Nonetheless, the poppy ‘Not Happy’ and the very Beefheart-esque ‘Lonesome Cowboy Dave’– both of which aren’t available anywhere else – provide a positive conclusion to Terminal Tower, which stands alongside the equally adventurous The Modern Dance [VINYL] and Dub Housing,as one of the best releases from this long-running group.
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on 24 December 2000
Rocket From The Tombs is a band not many will know. They split in 1975 without even releasing a note, but now stand revered as one of the originators of American underground/alternative rock music. What has this got to do with Pere Ubu? Simple. The two founders of Ubu, Peter Laughner and David Thomas, were previously members of Rocket From The Tombs. As that band imploded prematurely Ubu picked up the baton, the results of which can be heard on Terminal Tower, a compilation of early non-album Ubu material containing all four of the songs recorded while Laughner was a member. He would then leave Pere Ubu before his death in 1977 aged 25. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Final Solution had originally been Rocket From The Tombs songs, where they were played as menacing revved up guitar duels, a combination of punk spirit with avant garde rock sensibilities. Pere Ubu toned down the speed and guitars with their versions, emphasising the sinister atmosphere instead with slower tempos and murkier instrumental backing. Heart Of Darkness (also a RFTT song originally) and Cloud 149 are the other two Laughner era tracks. After Laughner's departure, David Thomas became the undisputed leader of the band, which would go on to be the among the greatest of the late 1970's playing a revised but still potent blend of avant garde and pop hooks. The rest of the material on this CD reflects their stature. From the skewed pop melody of Heaven to the drone of The Book Is On The Table to the controlled rage of Humor Me, all the elements which make Pere Ubu unique are here. However, it is the earliest tracks which stand out as a testimony to the lost talent of Peter Laughner, a visionary of 1970's American rock 'n' roll. His contribution turned out to be brief, but what there is should be savoured. This CD, alongside the now hard to find anthology of his solo work and of course the posthumously released Rocket From The Tombs recordings, is testimony to this. As for Pere Ubu, get this CD along with The Modern Dance, Dub Housing and New Picnic Time and you are in possession one of the greatest opening statements any group can offer. Convinced? You should be!!
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on 7 February 2004
As a life time Ubu fan I think this is a great starting point with some of the great early Hearthen recordings and the wonderful anthemic 30 seconds over Tokyo which will test your listening pleasure to the limit and bring you back home safe.
I remember My Dark Ages being considered one of their finest early songs and Final Solution has such a wonderful ironic lyric
" the girls won't touch me cos I've got a misdirection".They have always challenged the ear and never bored me and nearly always delighted .
So come on stick your toe into darker aural waters .I can't promise a life changing experience just a change in view that will make you the richer.
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on 1 March 2002
The promise of genius certainly shines through on these early tracks, but I was a little disappointed as this album does not quite have that hypnotic quality of, for example Dub Housing, where they create such exquisite sound sculptures on the synthesizer in a thoroughly rock idiom.
Heart Of Darkness and 30 Seconds over Tokyo reveal their garage roots, but they really soar on Final Solution with its nervous buildup, beautiful melody and rousing conclusion. Of the rest, I love Heaven with its swaying reggae rhythm, droning bursts of synth and jangling guitars, and the quirky pop song Happy.
Although the roots of their later masterpieces are evident here, it's still in a raw form and based on the guitar, predating their later exploration of the synth/industrial style where they found their true voice.
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on 7 July 2014
Wonderful and quirky
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