For all their reputation as “wreckers of civilisation”, by 1979 the original industrial quartet had gotten some of the confrontation out of their system and were exploring a wider range of expression. Chris and Cosey were getting more into their electronics, evident on the pure electropop of Hot on the Heels of Love and Walkabout’s jolly sequenced synth. Of course, it wouldn’t be TG if it was all “very friendly”, so Persuasion and Six Six Sixties see Genesis P-Orridge letting in various shades of creepiness. Peter Christopherson must be responsible for some of the sleaziness too, of course.
Double CD reissue, with a disc’s worth of live tracks from 1979.
9/10 Ant Staff review, 11 November 2011
This 1979 masterpiece is probably the most well known LP in the TG catalogue. Probably due to the cheeky title and iconic cover art. Such a pretty location for one of the worlds most popular suicide spots - Beachy Head. The irony of the cover shot was made clearer by a later issue of the album featuring a dead body nestled beneath the band. So anyway this is thee remastered reissue of the third full length from the “Wreckers Of Civilization” and for many listeners is their most immediately accessible sonic statement.
Chris Carter's contribution here is huge although you've got to love Genesis's credit as “Vibe Master”. Carter handled the drum and rhythm programming as well as the sequencing and in turn managed to influence a whole wave of dance music producers from Chicago through to Detroit. His role in the creation of house and techno cannot be over emphasised (see 'Hot On The Heels Of Love'). The album begins with sparse downtempo drum machine beats and Cosey's wonky cornet sounds of the title track, along with the slightly comical vocals from Gen who repeats the phrases “Jazz” and “Nice”. These were of course single word catchphrases later nicked by The Fast Show. 'Beachy Head' is way darker with the sound of gulls squawking in the distance beneath sinister electronics which immediately have you imagining some poor bugger walking up to the edge of the cliff side, the weight of the world on their shoulders, ready to take the plunge of no return. Then comes 'Still Walking', perhaps they had a change of heart? The mood is more upbeat yet completely tormented with whirring disorientating sonics and Gen's deadpan, barely decipherable narrative. Then there's Cosey's vocal overlaid and the feeling is one of an internal conversation/battle.
'Tanith' has a sort of cartoonish bass wobble with bell chimes and lots of heavily processed electronics shifting from channel to channel. It's like jazz funk being played by four year old children in the year 3000 with high tech gear at their disposal. Then 'Convincing People' sounds like Georgio Moroder overdosed on Valium while being tormented by aliens as Genesis gives a suitably deranged vocal performance. 'Exotica' has lots of very high pitched frequencies that pulsate away like robotic crickets amongst gloomy drones, insectoid ticking and melodic bell chimes, the overall effect sounds quite pretty but is somehow simultaneously unnerving.
'Hot On The Heels Of Love' is up next and takes Carter's pop and disco influences and combines them with his technological expertise, add Cosey's sensual vocal, a 4/4 beat and you have a blueprint for many records which come out today. A timeless track, like 'United' displaying the multi-faceted interests and capabilities of TG. What's particularly interesting about this track is how it took mainstream influences, spun them around and re-sold them back. A testament to how creativity in the underground can inspire popular culture. The awesome 'Persuasion' lyrically carries the same theme as 'Convincing People' and 'Discipline' referencing Burroughs's literature about control and features the eternal lyrics, “I've got a biscuit tin, to keep your panties in”. It's a dark number to say the least but I can't help but chuckle to myself every time I hear it. You've only to listen to Chris Carters stunning all-time classic 'The Space Between' to realise who is at the helm on 'Walkabout', a majestic and evocative slab of superior, gorgeous synthesizer music. Don't get too comfortable though because the industrial grind and chug of 'What A Day' is about to remind you how much you hated working in the pressing shop of that cat flap factory you worked at when you were sixteen years old. The clanking, repetitive mechanical rhythms went on to influence what industrial music would become in its second wave and is the sound most would associate with the genre.
Although that sound is not at all present in the majority of TG's work. Monte Cazazza coined the phrase but I feel the term has become somewhat distorted over the years. Anyway as the vocal gradually becomes smothered in effects it adds to the nightmarish vibes. The record concludes with one of my personal favourite sets of lyrics from Genesis “I am one of the injured, dissolving like an injured dog, my wasted limbs get smaller. Pain is a stimulus of pain, but then of course nothing is pure...” etc. Along with grubby, doomy guitar 'Six Six Sixties' is total class and even made it onto the 'Greatest Hits - Entertainment Through Pain' album as did three other tracks from this very LP. That compilation is also about to be reissued but hold tight as the absolutely crushing “Heathen Earth' is up next to pummel you into oblivion. Am I 'Convincing People' to buy these records? Have you no 'Discipline'? Maybe you need some 'Persuasion'?
This album is amazing. Is it worth the remaster? I have the Fetish edition
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