Thursday, 17 April 2014

Alternative TV - "Strange Kicks" (I.R.S. Records SP70023) 1981

Well, I now bring to an end this weeks series of  releases from Mark Perry and his chums, with the unjustly overlooked "Strange Kicks".
Its gotta be one of the best album covers of the punk era, a cynical pastiche of a pop album cover, it could almost be Wham!;and it wouldn't surprise me if some 80's pop fans bought this by some tragic mistake.("Daddy that man can't sing properly!")
Those duped pop fans were not far off the beam,for this is ATV's 'Pop' album; and don't we wish pop was like this? I suppose it was all part of the trend of the time, after the abject failure of Punk rock to subvert and corrupt the music industry, to sabotage from within,to appear 'normal' but secretly slip the message into what appeared and sounded like pop music. The fire Engines tried it with their pop alter-ego, Win, the Associates did it superbly, and ATV tried and failed with the fantastic "Strange Kicks". Alex Fergusson, had been working on this angle,after leaving ATV for a while,and rejoined with an armful of these Pop Songs. Something he would bring with him when he formed Psychic TV, and gave us the surreal sight and sound of Genesis p. Orridge singing a sweet lovey dovey song; you gotta check out 'Just Drifting (for caresse)' from 'Force the hand of Chance'......a terrible love song ,that sounds like the mentally ill cousin of 'the Windmills of your Mind'; hilarious,and another work of cynical genius.(apparently Gen,Alex and Sleazy absolutely pissed themselves whilst recording that.....and why not?).
(And don't forget Fergusson's sublime 'pop' single with Dorothy)
Of course,when it was released, the Elitist within me missed the point, and i hated did many others. But after re-discovering it, its up there with other great 'sell-out' records, like Captain Beefheart's 'Clear Spot' , 'Unconditionally Guaranteed' and ' Bluejeans and Moonbeams'; PiL had a go with 'The Commercial Zone' and 'Live in Tokyo', that was conceptually fine,but musically a disaster that Lydon never recovered from.

I can't stop singing "Mirror Boy":

"Gillian says, 'half of Bedford was there.'
Rotten place with white crap for walls.
No rain,no snowy snowy scenes,
Just Burnt backs and ambre Solaire."

Such poetry, especially Perry's South London twang on the Ambre Solaire rhyme. Sublime.
I could easily see that tune as a bona-fide hit in the normal top thirty.

ps. This is the CD version with bonus tracks!

Track Listing:

The Ancient Rebels
Strange Kicks
Mirror Boy
Anye Is Back
My Hand Is Still Wet
Fun Cuty
TV Operator
There Goes My Date With Doug
Cold Rain
Who Are They?
Sleep In Bed Mp3
Dub In Bed
Mirror Boy
Pick It Up
Can You Feel The Heat?
Love Lies Limp

Get Your Strange Kicks HERE!!!!!!!!


ROOKSBY said...

Yep, undoubtedly a fantastic LP - this & Snappy Turns are M. Perry's most enduring works, I think?

watfordkev said...

An incredible, criminally overlooked album.