This Heat remain one of the most unique and remarkable bands in existence, and it is a joy to see their catalogue being reissued on vinyl for the first time! Deceit is a paranoid, blast of Cold War, post-punk creativity, moving from eerie creep to the ecstatic flare of ‘SPQR’ and the howl of ‘Makeshift Swahili’. Remastered audio, 180g vinyl, and a booklet of notes and photos, on Modern Classics.
- Last copy!
4 reviews. Add your own review.
Absolutely essential re-issue of the second and final album by these Brixton post-punkers who were one of a clutch of bands around the turn of the '80's who completely re-shaped how music would sound, were fearless and innovative and sat in that perfect bit of music making where experimentalism meets pop. And yes prepare for freeform experimental composition- closer 'Hi Baku Shyo' is four minutes of guitar squeaks, the odd pluck of acoustic guitar and the sound of distant bells - but just before it comes 'A New Kind of Water' surely the most vital slice of This Heat as rock band. Pummelling descending post punk guitars mesh with booming bass and the most innovative drums you'll ever hear. A sound that surely had influence on the burst of Dunedin guitar slingers and cut to the modern day to Viet Cong, meanwhile the lyrics dissect the themes of 1981 - basically cold paranoia.
Yet the album starts in a very different place indeed - 'Sleep' is an eerie nursery rhyme that I've never been able to properly get my head around being both eerie and somehow comforting. The stark and taut post punk of 'Paper Hats' is interrupted by a screaming vocal that truly disconcerts. Elsewhere the pounding 'SPQR' has chanted vocals over pulverising drumming and sounds like Wire gone feral. Unusually for post punk the drums are massive and heavily reverbed - you could never mistake drummer Charles Hayward for a drum machine. The tracks spirals to a cacophonous finale and lurches into 'Cenotaph' which is a splintered instrumental with nods to the early dischord of XTC - the vocals both off and on key, straining for a chorus that never comes.
Sometimes the record is simply horrible...'Makeshift Swahili' has burst of pure noise terror and grinding inaccessibility yet at other times it has hooks lesser bands would kill for.
Completely uncompromising. Buy it and file alongside PIL, the Birthday Party, the Slits and XTC.
10/10 Dan Customer review, 15th January 2016
Depending on your criteria for that nebulous thing known as “post-punk” this is probably the best post-punk album ever made. ‘Deceit’ is the culmination of This Heat’s short but hugely impressive, important, influential and dazzling output. The word seminal is often banded about, but for ’This Heat’ it is truly deserved. The music can loosely be characterised as experimental rock, with krautrock and avant-garde influences. Well ahead of their time the music still sounds futuristic and bursting with ideas. Sharing the very real fear of nuclear destruction with those other post-punk titans The Pop Group the album is one of dread, anguish and encroaching insanity. The front-cover image perfectly fits the music, a scream into the face of a mushroom cloud, a collage of human stupidity and destruction.
This Heat were undoubtably a special meeting of musicians that became much more than the sum of their parts. Gareth William’s shot of dilettantism combined with the jazz drum skills of Charles Hayward and Charles Bullen’s brilliant guitar work allowed ideas to flourish. Extensive time spent experimenting in their own studio allowed them to develop a unique sound that hasn't been matched since. On opener ‘Sleep’ the comforts of the modern world are promised, sung with a soothing melody to lull you into a dream state. On the following track ‘Paper Hats’ the dream turns to a nightmare. The lyrics are screamed from a distance, a terrifying fall down a rabbit hole. An extended krauty outro drags you into the track ‘Triumph’, full of prominent kazoos, odd percussion, synthy organ, beeps and drum crashes. Another terrific example of the vocal switching and harmonising of the band ends a very odd track. Following this comes probably the most traditionally rockist song on the LP, ’S.P.Q.R’. The vocals repeat ‘We are all Romans’ and talk about the universal, unchanging nature of society and the human condition. Complementing this the next song ‘Cenotaph’ takes this view to war and the futility and waste of never-ending conflict. The delivery is devastating, all the member’s vocals sounding drained, grey and weighed down. The music is haunting, powerful and ends in a dirge. Side B is just as powerful.
The genius of ‘Deceit’ has roots in the general appeal of post-punk - it is the tension between the song craft and avant-garde influences that defines it’s greatness. It is easy to produce an ambient album or a drone or a noise record. It’s much harder to take influences such as these and incorporate them successfully into an essentially rock-based environment. ‘This Heat’ manage to do that with aplomb on ‘Deceit’. Many of the songs have hooks and strong melodies and yet it still manages to be a strange journey that continues to reward listen after listen. The detail in the soundscapes is astonishing, the production superb and the ideas behind it are vibrant and still relevant today.
It is a masterpiece and deserves pride of place in any collection.
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