Post Punk 01
Old records, repackaged, resold.
Post Punk 01 – Various (Rough Trade)

01 – Admirable exercise on the part of one of the UK’s true innovators: Rough Trade Records. A 2 CD set that rounds up an eclectic bunch of envelope pushers from back in the day (79-82ish) & attempts to marry them to their Noughties equivalents: i.e. purveyors of vaguely similar fare.

02 – NB: before delving into “Post Punk 01”, it is advisable to read Colin Newman’s sleeve-notes which eloquently & definitively nail the perceived genre to the floorboards - so there’s little room for debate.

03 – We open with the Gang Of Four, obviously - & when I say “obviously” – I mean to the point of being pedantry. Why the fuck does everyone hold the Gang Of Four up to the light with such faith? I mean, anyone who was there at the time knows full well that you could see, erm, RIGHT THROUGH THEM! The Gang Of Four, let it not be forgotten, sold their arses down the white boy disco funk tin pan alley quicker than you can say, “didn’t you used to be on Fast?” Sometimes an EP is all you get.

04 – Of the original material here - & by that I mean the stuff recorded before 1982ish – The Pop Group, LiliPUT, The Slits, Swell Maps, Au Pairs, Wire, Magazine, The Fall & XTC are all worthy of your attention. If you really want to understand this stuff – go buy the debut LPs by each of the above (with LiliPUT you may require the Kill Rock Stars Kleenex/LiliPUT collection) & try to think beyond the soundbite. I hazard a guess that exposure to these 9 LPs will give you far more idea of what was happening just after punk rock buckled under the weight of it’s expectations (& limitations) than this compilation could hope to.

05 – Of the contemporary material here - & by that I mean stuff recorded in the last few years – Life Without Buildings (sadly, RIP), Les Georges Leningrad & Chicks On Speed are the only artists attempting any real subversion through their music. The rest seem to be making vaguely “post punk” shapes simply because The Young Marble Giants are the next group in the queue to be copied – slavish attention to detail, notwithstanding.

06 – Which only leaves us with the motivational aspect: why? As Newman so rightly says, much of this will date faster than a motorway service station sandwich (once removed from a chilled environment) – as will the current “scene” - just as soon as the New Romantic Revival kicks in: November 2003 (& why is the Goth revival an underground movement - again – do people find the clothes & make-up funny - or something?). I wonder if anyone’s noticed we’ve missed out the Two Tone Revival? And what about Positive Punk? And Shambling? So many revivals – so little time.

07 – Many people with the right kind of haircuts have made all the right noises about “Post Punk 001” over the last couple of weeks – merely platitudes? – time will surely tell. In a funny kind of way “Post Punk 01” feels a bit like a portal – a portal to the next trend – a star-gate, if you will. I wonder exactly how many of our future stars will walk through it & come out with any credibility on the “other side”.

Jean Encoule – tMx11 – July 03

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