June 21, 2009
FACE IN THE CROWD, Sax and Drums and Rock and Roll (EEEEEEEE Records), orig. release 1985
Dr Fizz......... Clown
Face In The Crowd
Face To The Name
All Little Anarchists
A Strong Voice
How Much Do You Know ... Statement ... Justice
R. Loydell and Russell Kirk, plus “whoever else”
Take a little Fall, stir in some Glaxo Babies (according to the stalwart label head – I’ve heard of the band, but don’t really know them well…) or some Jazz Butcher (my reference point for anarchic music with saxophone), and you get this band.
“Factory Food” has a vaguely ska feel, but with louder guitars and less catchy vocals. Nevertheless, the song has a certain ramshackle charm in its rant about factory food (years ahead of the whole Frankenfood concern).
“Total Eclipse” continues the clipped guitars, earnest vocals and skronking saxophone of its predecessor, tossing in a power chord or two for maximum effect.
“Dr. Fizz” has a repeated vaguely spacey/metallic guitar riff, with a spoken word narrative a la the Velvet Underground’s “Lady Godiva’s Operation”. I am hard-pressed to make out most of the words, but the zany ping-ponging guitar and saxophone chaos are beautifully warped.
The track bearing their name (why do some bands insist on doing that?) has a catchy slide guitar loop to it, as well as some chugging rhythm guitar and, again, wacky sax.
“Face To The Name” also has an echoing metallic/spacey guitar thing going on, but the vocals are still sadly squished beneath the noise.
“All Little Anarchists” has the most punk-rocking structure, complete with 1-2-3-4’s and a vocal that is more forward, but still hard to make out. It is so brief that one feels it must be a bit of a piss-take, somehow…
“A Strong Voice”? Not really. I hear lots of guitar noise and drums, but the words might as well not be there.
“How Much Do You Know” – this time the bass, assuming it was present before, is more audible. Oddly, this sounds like “Forming” by The Germs, but without Darby’s undeniable vocal presence. It goes on at great length, into space-rock territory, in a way, and mercifully jettisons the vocals as a lost cause for most of that time.
In short, I like the music on this record, but the vocals really needed some sort of help or further amplification (it mostly sounds live-to-tape, other than possibly “Dr. Fizz”).