Early 0205


fye.000000400158114411 2/14/05 Used

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ID: fye.000000400158114411


    Early 0205 Rough Trade

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Review Text The U.S. misunderstood a lot of foreign bands during the '70s and '80s. Ask fans of Gang of "I Love a Man in a Uniform" Four or pre-stadium Simple Minds, and they'll be happy to bitterly confirm it. Ask the average music fan who came of age during Scritti Politti's mainstream peak and he or she is likely to recall a one-hit wonder (wrong), a Color Me Badd precursor that appeared out of thin air (wrong again and yet again). Cupid & Psyche 85's end-to-end brilliance is another argument, but when that album was on the charts, few stateside listeners knew that Scritti Politti had a history. Several years before "Perfect Way," Scritti were post-punks who made frail political songs with guitars as linear as a balled-up entanglement of holiday lights, a rhythm section as slantwise as it was dubwise, and boyish vocals as sweet as they were hesitant. Though the voice of central member Green Gartside would eventually lose the latter characteristic, it seems to have remained a part of his personality. This disc, a compilation of his group's first four singles/EPs, wouldn't exist if he hadn't been badgered so much. Reading his liner notes that double as a disclaimer, it's not hard to understand why, because he's not off base when he says, "It sounds like some anti-produced labour of negativity, kind of structurally unsound and exposed, by design and default." However, it's these factors that help make the songs unpredictable, exciting, and ultimately thrilling -- hear the lazy lurch and hypnotic spirals in "Skank Bloc Bologna," the barely controlled tangents and tempo shifts in "Is and Ought the Western World," and all the retractions and stammering in "Messthetics," all seemingly happenstance works of sloppy borderline genius. "Hegemony," just as crucial, begins as a sprightly love song to a woman with an exotic name ("The fairest creature that ever I have seen") before turning into a seething rant against, well, hegemony ("You are the foulest creature that set apart a race"). It's not all leftist ideals and prone seams, though, with the inclusion of "The Sweetest Girl" and "Lions After Slumber," two glorious nudges toward the bright-eyed soul that was bubbling under the whole time. The sound of the recordings, mastered from vinyl, is vibrant enough to trick listeners into thinking that the masters were never "lost." ~ Andy Kellman

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Skank Bloc Bologna - 6:52
  2. 2. Is and Ought the Western World - 4:45
  3. 3. 28/8/78 - 3:39
  4. 4. Scritlocks Door - 2:33
  5. 5. OPEC-Immac - 3:12
  6. 6. Messthetics - 2:46
  7. 7. Hegemony - 2:05
  8. 8. Bibbly-O-Tek - 3:29
  9. 9. Doubt Beat - 4:44
  10. 10. Confidence - 3:05
  11. 11. P.A.s - 6:59
  12. 12. Sweetest Girl - 5:05
  13. 13. Lions After Slumber - 5:59

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