Inspired by Colin H’s recent post about the Last Days/Fag End of Punk I thought I’d post about a complementary obsession of mine – What the original first cohort of punk/new wave bands started to do in the early 80’s as they were left out of fashion with their original audience fading away.
Generally it seemed to involve up in New Romantic threads (UK Subs) or a zoot suit (Rankin Roger) for a half-hearted opportunistic photo shoot and recording one last album featuring a more poppy souly direction with backing singers/horn section (Gang of Four, Undertones) before quitting. And then to to reform a decade later and tour the old hits ad nauseum to a balding audience until members start dying.
However I believe this period contains some overlooked gems forgotten by time and the public and wish to bring your attention to two albums worthy of your interest/consideration.
The Members – Go West. Recorded in 1981 but unreleased in the UK until 1983 this album shows their new funky direction which plays to their strengths and makes a much better album their two patchy rather too punk rama lama previous albums. Strong, hook ladenn dance chants and featuring the two hit singles that never were – Radio and Working Girl. How galling to create your best work when the public interest has moved on.
The Orange Juice – what is essentially an Edwyn Collins solo album as all the original members are long gone. A more mature, considered direction. More soulful and laidback songs, superb songwriting and Edwyn’s singing at it’s finest. Why it didn’t become a coffee table /dinner party staple and rival Sade I will never know.
Also for the record, although I may have appeared to knock their strategies above the Gang of Four’s 1982 Songs of the Free and the Undertones 1983 Sin or Pride, rise above the dodgy career-ism and contain enough of these bands’ original genius that I still enjoy them today.
And, what about you? Any records from this period that you think are under appreciated and would like to bring to our attention.