A long time ago in a place far far away a group of young men inspired by the ethics of punk rock got together to discuss how they could express themselves through art, performance and song. A mythical village was created to house these ideas and the young men began to name each other with monikers more akin to the vibe they felt toward each other such as Edge, Guggi, Dik, Bono Gavin Friday. More young men came and soon they split into two groups. One group called themselves Hype then Feedback then decided upon U2. This group went on to record some records and play some pop concerts and do some weird stuff with lemons etc. However the other group became the legendary VIRGIN PRUNES and they taught us how to mix art with music with insanity with experimental performance with beauty with horror but always with class. Ladies & Gentlemen ...Welcome to The Virgin Prunes - Strongman, Guggi, Dave-id Busarus, Gavin Friday, Mary, Dik, Pod. If I Die I Die
The flagship of the catalogue, originally released in 1982 on rough trade, this a beautifully crafted re-issue with a slightly different album cover shot from the same stunning Ursula Steiger session. Package includes lyrics and further Steiger images. When I bought this in '82 I loved it for it's pure `out there-ness' weird romantic notions mixed with a very weird group visually and a million miles away from the post punk dullness of the time. The two front men Guggi & Gavin Friday made much of their theatrical genius and Mary, Dik & Strongman put together a tremendous oft overlooked musical soundscape. `Ulakanakulot' A lush instrumental that used to start may prunes gigs around the time it's the gateway to the album it sets the stage because before you know it you're in the middle of the next track `Decline and Fall' "take a dream and fly away" croons Mr Friday to the exact same guitar pattern that began the album haunting and hypnotic for sure. "Sweethome Under White Clouds" is a re-working of an older song but it fits perfectly within this album and is a much more polished attempt "we slept happily ever after". It puts me in mind of a native Indian chant with Guggi & Gavin taking turns on the verses and its got a fekkin trumpet in it. Great bass n drum stomp through this one."Bau-Dachong " again lush is the word, referring to the sounds intertwining with Gavin's' vocals "of this men shall never know". Guest instrument in this one is a didgeridoo! "Caucasian Walk " is one of the fast paced live stompers (again that wonderful prunes bass n drum pounding that is a constant threat throughout this) with once again the deadly duel vox and Gavin's lyrics sums up a lot of all this really "....Like a crazy singer in a band that's lost the words" Guggi & Gavin at their most potent. The aptly titled "Theme for thought" feels just like that with Dik's massive guitar intro which breaks into Strongman's bass hook whilst Gavin looms in with his spiteful vocals over an almost choral backing vocal. Then all hell breaks loose.... as usual... Guest instrument today is Saxophone.
"Walls of Jericho" like `Pagan' & `Caucasian walk' is a fast paced live favourite with the trademark double whammy twin vox assault.
Bonus cuts `Dave-id is Dead' (original b side to `Pagan Lovesong') and `Ballad of the Man' are performed by the bizarre yet compelling Dave-id Busaras Scott (who used to open many of the Prunes live shows with a spoken word dialogue concerning the strange world within which he lived). The two singles of the time are both included here the awesome `Pagan Lovesong' (remember hearing Strongman's' bass intro and dashing to the dance floor) and `Baby Turns Blue' (The faculties of a broken heart) both featured heavily in alternative clubs around Europe even now! This CD version comes with four bonus tracks, one of which is unreleased `Fado' a fitting little instrumental piece (the band were frustrated trying to fit lyrics originally so was left off the album) that leads beautifully into `Baby Turns Blue', `Yeo', another instrumental piece with a Busaras intro (B-side of baby turns blue 7"), `Chance of a lifetime' (b-side of Faculties of a Broken Heart 12") a more industrial abstract piece that would sit more comfortably on an earlier work, and the afore mentioned `Dave-id is dead' Produced by Wire's Colin Newman this album wasn't as diverse as their previous output hence making this the album you need to get if you are not acquainted with the Virgin Prunes but are interested in taking a peep into this strangely beautiful / terrifying world. One of the best albums of the Eighties, musically and lyrically