This album is a re-issue of a lost classic which originally came out on Che Records in 1992. It was then entitled Open Doors Closed Windows and it came with a single and an EP.
While I bought quite a few Che releases back then, this wasn't one of them. They were a band that never got the right breaks and disappeared into obscurity and only now is In Debt being reissued with some bonus material and new artwork.
How I never heard of them seeing as (according to the liner notes) they came from my neck of the woods in the west Essex wastelands is all the more remarkable even if I was plotting my exit from the area back then.
From the opener Entertainment on, it's obvious they are not a disco band but they do have dark dance elements and are sort of like A Certain Ratio going goth/death disco. Arc In Round, for example, is a slow, slightly dour mope of a song to be a wallflower to.
Broken sounds like they had heard local heroes Wasted Youth and then slowed them down and added masses of echo to make them sound all shoegaze-y goes indie. In The Cold has an almost funky beat underneath it that gets married to a sort of Joy Division/early new Order type sound and ends up reminding me of Holloys who came much later.
Emigre has some nice strings and sparse drumming to evoke the feeling of being out of place in possibly new surroundings. Interference has a repeating motif and far away vocals married with the odd guitar flourish that seems to be trying to copy Johnny Marr, even if this sounds nothing like the Smiths.
When I first heard Leisuretime, I thought it was a Sebastian Melmoth song from one of the albums they put out a couple of years ago. So that's where they got there sound from! I love the almost elastic sound of the bass on this song, which is slow and chilled out and nice and oddly current sounding more like 2016/7 than the early 90's that's for sure.
Set Sail reminds me of The Bridport Dagger and what they sounded like 5 years ago with that sparseness of sound for a desolate future dystopia that may have arrived before we wanted it to. I like the way it bursts out in the same way A Projection have re-moulded Joy Division's sonic soundscapes recently. This is the missing link between the two.
Hope To God is another blueprint of the Sebastien Melmoth sound crossed with sounds of Leyton that Blang have often put out but without Corporal Machine and the Bombers cheek.
Freethought, meanwhile, is quite death disco like pulsing doom and relentless beat driving us to the edge. Bleed Clean sounds so like something off of Luxembourg Signal's debut album from 2014, so it's amazing to think this is from the early 90's with that pearlized shoegaze sound.
Next In Line sort of re-invents Joy Divison's Walked In Line to a deconstructed jangle pop guitar and snare, guitar sparse beauty that eventually leads to bells chiming in and what sounds like phones ringing like odd dub sounds. It's fantastically elastic in places.
Incentives almost sounds like the vocals are being sung choir style in a real echo-laden chapel as the guitars build and dissipate as do most of the instruments in that real reverb heavy shoegaze way. A sing song intro lead into dissonance among the carefully wrought disappearing reappearing guitar line thats a bit Crystallized Movements Mind Disaster like.
Waking Up begins gently with some pulsing and gentle strumming that after a couple of minutes is joined by the drums and vocals to take us to some dark place to be woken up. It reminds me of the sort of music they often played in Ugly Child Records on Hoe street in Walthamstow like Dif Juz or Inca Babies and yet again current bands like Sebastian Melmoth.
Glancing Away is all gloomy late period Wasted Youth slowed down and infused with some of The Moodists' angst and a love of Joy Division. Fallen Down The Wire is a lot more urgent and back in early A Certain Ratio territory but with disembodied vocals. It's perfect for some dislocation disco style dancing in this band's inferno that the bass slowly descends towards the angry pit the singer is trying to get out of. He rages against the horror of this life until it comes to a brash full stop ending.
The album closes with No Edge, No End that sounds like Dalston in the 20 teens rather than Leyton in the early 90's. But that's the way with music. It can sounds totally current and also 25 years old. I wish I'd known about them at the time as I think I would have really liked them back then. Still, now this re-issue of the band's early material is out we can all burn burn burn with the band's own goth tinged Disco Inferno.
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