Monday, 24 January 2022

PERE UBU - The Modern Dance 1978

Fucking Monday, but don't worry, it will pass too... we're coming to a band that has been around for a very long time: Pere Ubu, formed 1975 in Cleveland/Ohio. The band had a variety of long-term and recurring band members, with singer David Thomas being the only member staying throughout the band's lifetime. They released their debut album The Modern Dance in 1978 and followed with several more LPs before disbanding in 1982. Thomas reformed the group in 1987, continuing to record and tour. Describing their sound as "avant-garage," Pere Ubu's work drew inspiration from sources such as musique concrète, 60s rock, performance art, and the industrial environments of the American Midwest. While the band achieved little commercial success, they have exerted a wide influence on subsequent underground music. A review: There isn't a Pere Ubu recording you can imagine living without. The Modern Dance remains the essential Ubu purchase (as does the follow-up, Dub Housing). For sure, Mercury had no idea what they had on their hands when they released this as part of their punk rock offshoot label Blank, but it remains a classic slice of art-punk. It announces itself quite boldly: the first sound you hear is a painfully high-pitched whine of feedback, but then Tom Herman's postmodern Chuck Berry riffing kicks off the brilliant "Non-Alignment Pact," and you soon realize that this is punk rock unlike any you've ever heard. David Thomas' caterwauling is funny and moving, Scott Krauss (drums) and Tony Maimone (bass) are one of the great unheralded rhythm sections in all of rock, and the "difficult" tracks like "Street Waves," "Chinese Radiation," and the terrifying "Humor Me" are revelatory, and way ahead of their time. The Modern Dance is the signature sound of the avant-garage: art rock, punk rock, and garage rock mixing together joyously and fearlessly. (John Dougan) - Well, I think the album starts strong, but gets lost in experimental soundscapes and so the power dissipates quickly like a beer that isn't drunk.

- Great Thx to Fredrik -


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