No Songs Tomorrow


aec.sbon20323.2 4/3/12 New
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    No Songs Tomorrow Sacred Bones

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Review Text Originally issued in 1983, No Songs Tomorrow, the debut LP from Yorkshire, England disenfranchised youth UV Pøp, can be summed up in one word: bleak. The album opens with the brittle title track, a sparse blend of crackly drum machine and ghostly guitars backing up the beginning lyrics "I had to cry today...." Right off the bat, No Songs Tomorrow sets itself up as an emotional trudge, and not in the over the top and sometimes laughable way that more successful bands of the same nature were sometimes mocked for. Unlike the Cure's smeared eyeliner theatrics or even the truly dire feel of the legendary Joy Division, UV Pøp are miserable without a hint of mystery. Their songs exist in a place after hope, beyond the pale and to the point of dull, regular, unremarkable sadness. "Portrait " goes for a more goth take on the moody pop of the Psychedelic Furs, but again, the lyrics undo whatever slight chance the song had at commerical appeal with their starkly alienated look at the horrors of youth. "Some Win This" is up there with the most driven Death in June tracks with its haunted acoustic guitars and hollow atmosphere. Around the time of this release UV Pøp were compared to the pre-industrial dourness of Cabaret Voltaire, possibly because of their skeletal arrangements and use of damaged rhythm box sounds. Tracks like the blistering "Sleep Don't Talk" are where these comparisons ring truest. The distorted vocals and pummeling dual synth lines all border on complete noise, held together and pushed forward by a 200-bpm drum machine pattern. The album is split between barren traditional songs and numbers of lengthy experimentation. "Commitment" is a dated soundscape; an ominous bassline is ornamented by saxophone blasts and audio from a televangelist's sermon. Along with the anti-religious spoken piece "Psalm" and the go-nowhere instrumental "Hafunkiddies," "Commitment" is one of the moments that jumbles No Songs Tomorrow, taking away from the dark vibes and sounding like filler. These sounds were probably smoky and terrifying in 1983, but in a post-Negativland world, recontextualized sound samples and heavy-handed audio tricks have been done to death and no longer make much impression. The 2012 Sacred Bones resissue sees the album available digitally for the first time and includes three previously unreleased bonus tracks. Unfortunately, these tracks fall more in the filler department, with more found-sound samples and the dirgeful sea shanty "Amsterdam." Though inconsistent, No Songs Tomorrow gets by on the immense strength of its most realized songs. It's a lost classic for those songs alone, and a masterpiece in bleakness made only slightly less brutal with the passing of time. ~ Fred Thomas

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. No Songs Tomorrow - 4:34
  2. 2. Portrait [Extended] - 7:34
  3. 3. Some Win This - 3:05
  4. 4. See You - 4:17
  5. 5. I.C. - 4:42
  6. 6. Psalm - 4:23
  7. 7. Sleep Don't Talk - 3:14
  8. 8. Commitment - 6:35
  9. 9. Arcade Fun - 3:15
  10. 10. Hafunkiddies - 4:33
  11. 11. Four Minute Warning - 5:21
  12. 12. Supersition - 5:42
  13. 13. Hafunkiddies [Original Version] - 3:48
  14. 14. Amsterdam - 3:23

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