Sunday, 10 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #208 - Dalek I, "Compass/Kum'Pas"

Dave Balfe was in the band, I think. He went on to manage Blur, if I remember rightly. Peel Archive strikes again! Reaching back to 1980.

It sounds bedroom-intense. "8 Track (Eight)" has a great, off-kilter piano intro with incorrect singing. "Metal against my skin/Obedient lover begin" - I see. This sounds like the mutant thrashings that would snake out from punk and post-punk and begin to inform ideas about New Pop. Still a little wild at this point. This is the bedroom love of a songwriter for their tape recorder. Bless! "Destiny (Dalek I Love You)" pops along nicely, jangles cutely, speculates strangely about changing the world and selling brains.

The ideas are bigger and cleaner, but I put this down to the bigger, cleaner times. Now we have so much smog enveloping everything with information and entertainment and infotainment and options. Everything is quite sparse and sci-fi. The keyboards are pushing right to the fore in the mix, making the most of the novelty. Everything sounds very antiseptic. Clipped accents say things like "Removes his coat". And the fact the band were already unravelling when this album was made does make sense - everything sounds quite far apart.

"You Really Got Me" echoes the Flying Lizards' take on raucous R&B numbers like "Money" and "Sex Machine" - where the originals shake and sweat, this twitches and makes polite noises. I keep thinking about public information films about nuclear fallout. Polite, measured despair. "Good Times" starts with a recording of some chatter and for a moment I think it might not be an ironic title. But then they start complaining about being woken from a dream by people showing off about their kids. Experimental chopping; guitars slicing in through heavy reverb.

"Waste your time buying up dreams/But meanwhile, we're still naked in the heat."

Then the last track, "Missing Fifteen Minutes" has some more guitar angst, some Dr Who synth noises and a patrician burble about successful candidates being good listeners. "There's no more news", it ends. More atomic holocaust! 1980 was a scary place indeed.

Rating: Stop Start out of Clean Air

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