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- D'Ya Hear Me! : Naffi Years 1979-83 by Brenda Ray
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Brenda Ray’s a new name to me but Phil and Brian have both responded positively to this one hitting the turntable, with Phil even exclaiming, “Oh, I love Brenda Ray!” So I guess she’s highly regarded among “people of a certain age”, but I’m no person, and I hadn’t even been built in the 1979-’83 period in which Liverpudlian Ray recorded the tracks compiled here.
After opening on a weird spaced out bit of PiL-esque dub chunter, the record settles into a succession of minimal pop songs with heavy dub influences and sweetly playful vocals. In ‘Take Me In Your Car’ there’s a kind of Stereolab-ish Euro-shuffle feel that I really like, and there’s a really fun sense that she’s just out there beyond genre boundaries much of the time, dropping blurred melodica weirdpop, spy soundtrack dub jazz, cheerleader funk and Sun Araw-ish dubbed out minimal between the silky feel-good pop vibes.
On ‘Moonbeams’ she mixes bright childlike melodies with haunted Ela Orleansy stumbling dub rhythms (I feel bad for making so many references to artists most likely influenced by her but my ill-equipped robot memory doesn’t know any contemporaries besides PiL doing anything like this) for an amazing quasi-lullaby of a pop song which glides along nicely, and the intercontinental mixture of styles, textures and melodies belies the minimalist arrangements and consistent experimental aesthetic on display throughout this collection; the tropical post-punk dub sound of Liverpool, ‘79-’83. And 30 years later it still computes.
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