postpunk - The I-94 Bar
Sensible Shoes b/w Laughter Lines - Manja and the Maytrons (Robotten Records)
It’s a trio from the UK that plays post-punk-meets-garage-rock on a super-chunky slice of 45rpm splattewred vinyl. “Laughter Lines” is uncompromising with just a glimmer of light in the vocals. Drummer and co-singer Manja and bassist Mark S lock into a hard groove for Neil G to weave a thick layer of distorted guitar over the top. Part sung in German with the balance in English. “Disconcerting” and “different” are good words. So is “unconventional” which is probably the point. “Sensible Shoes” is an odd beast, too, with the bottom-end missing in action and to-and-fro vocal parts. The voices are placed well back in the soundscape in true post-punk style, and it all skids to a sudden stop. Wire springs to mind.
He's the drummer chap in Joy Division and now New Order. Morris has written about how he got there, but with a rather rueful (and lucky for us, gently comic) look back at what a twat he once was. Cleverly written, sensibly contrite and a bit ashamed of himself, this is corking stuff. Even if you weren't interested in his music, in fact.
However, we're also in modern myth territory. That means the tragic suicide of frontman Ian Curtis; a death which seemed to grip the nation's rather maudlin youth and media of the day to such an extent that death of The Ruts' frontman, Malcolm Owen a couple of months later, was completely eclipsed; surely both were equally as tragic.
But no, the Joy Division wave, which was only just rearing up, hit the UK quite hard.
Who woulda thought? More than two decades after its fade from relevance and with a lengthy hiatus and several Sex Pistols reunions sandwiched between, the other groundbreaking band fronted by John Lydon has slipped out an album. Hold the presses: It actually sounds relevant.