Singles reviewed by Jaz and Geordie of Killing Joke
Thursday, 10:45 in the morning. Two men arrive to do a demolition job. Jaz, the small one with punishing eyes, asks for a bottle of whisky. Geordie, constantly pacing the room, pronounces sentences with a worrying glee. Some of what they said we couldn't/wouldn't print. Here's the rest:
ROGER CHAPMAN: "How How How" (Polydor).
Geordie: I've got fond memories of my childhood and this man's voice - it sounds like him immediately and I admire anyone who can do that. It could do really well because it's bordering on how ZZ Top have gone - sort of heavy metal disco. If there was anyone out there in the record company with a bit of brains, they'd put some money into a good video and this would do well, especially in the States.
Jaz: He did some good balls in his time - all that Streetwalker stuff. I liked his voice when it was a little bit rougher, when there was a little bit more sandpaper to it but the man's obviously got integrity. This is alright - it's got feel, character and honesty but I'd like to see his voice get a bit rougher in the mix.
Geordie: He should give up the Jack Daniels and go for the Wild Turkey, that'll sort his voice right out.
MARILYN: "You Don't Love Me" (Phonogram).
Geordie snaps the record in half.
J: This is dreadful, right? Dreadful. He's got an awful voice but I suppose it'll appeal to little girls and faggots. It's a really shite song and he's obviously got a deal because he's associated with Boy George - that's the way the music scene is y'know.
G: The riff sounds like Bowie's "Sound And Vision" with loads of money put into the production.
J: He's one of those people who's a really fab person, y'know, all this kind of cliched Blitz-cum-Camden Palace talk. Between you, me and the gas chamber, I think ... well, I'll leave it to your imagination what should be done to people like this.
TRACIE: "Souls On Fire" (Respond).
G: This sounds like one of those really mediocre disco records that they play on those shitty South London disco stations - y'know, adequately played but totally unoriginal. It's the sort of thing you listen to after you get bored with a computer game.
J: I'm biased because I naturally hate anything to do with that creep Paul Weller. I just think he's the epitome of mediocrity, right? No more to it. I don't understand the motivation for doing this. People like this Tracie and Weller, right, they appeal to the students really don't they? I mean, I've got nothing against people at polytechnics but this is rubbish, nonsense. I don't even remember what it sounded like now. What's she look like - oh, she's got leg-warmers, well, inexcusable.
G: Never trust anyone who wears leg-warmers.
BRUCE FOXTON: "It Makes Me Wonder" (Arista).
G: I think he's trying to recreate the sound of The Jam going moody and deep; it's like he was the thinking one of the band, the deep, emotional one. I hate that real cliched bit, the Culture Club soully mouth-organ bit - they all use it now. He deeply regrets the split of The Jam by the sound of this - it's disgraceful.
J: He looks like the last puppydog in the shop window. Absolute piffle. You can see what kind of career he's got ahead of him - none! Actually, I met him at our rehearsal studio and he seemed quite a nice chap but there's not a lot going for him really.
G: Ah, well that's the thing about nice chaps isn't it? Ha ha !
BELLE & THE DEVOTIONS: "Love Games" (CBS).
J: We can really recommend this one! It's just unfortunate that they look like a pack of dogs isn't it?
G: Yeah, they'll have to find a good make-up-artist-cum-surgeon. This is a horribly authentic-sounding soul reproduction, very Supremesish. So bad it's a surefire hit.
MM: It sounds a bit like Mari Wilson.
G: Well, they're about as ugly as Mari Wilson actually - the seduction starts at closing time.
QUEEN IDA & THE BONTEMPS ZYDECO BAND: "Celimene" (Sonet).
G: It sounds like Bob Marley joined Boney M.
J: We don't like songs about Jesus. That's enough.
DONNA SUMMER: "Love Has A Mind Of Its Own" (Mercury).
G: She must be trying to break into the Bonnie Tyler market.
J: I can't judge stuff like this, it's beyond me.
MM: Why would anyone make a record like this?
G: Why do people make wallpaper?
J: It's guaranteed cash isn't it?
G: And I suppose you get used to a certain lifestyle and it's very hard to give up.
THE GO-GOs: "Head Over Heels" (IRS).
J: We met this lot once at a festival and I can tell you they were a real pack of pigs, real mutts and the music just isn't worth mentioning at all.
G: They sound like they're crossing over into the girly
version of the Billy Idol bit now - wocky disco.
JOE JACKSON: "Happy Ending" (A&.M).
GEORDIE does a scratch version, effectively destroying the record.
J: He's got a bald head and needs a good kicking as far as I'm concerned.
G: It's exactly the same as all his other stuff - there's just one hookline and he always uses it. He just bangs it in every line. I find it really depressing. It's like that sort of dregs end of the emotional syndrome; a "my girlfriend's got a headache" atmosphere, y'know?
MM: A sort of fake depression?
G: Well, I think it's probably quite genuine actually. It must be looking like him.
LONG PIG: "Why Do People Find Each Other Stranger' (Anagram).
G: Filthy middle class hippies - a real mind-bender maaan! It's awful. Get 'em all in the army, that's what I say, what?
BIG SELF: "Ghost Shirts" (Reekus).
G: It tends to sound a bit like U2 only better. I was disappointed when the vocals came in, it sounded like that idiot out of Simple Minds. It's not bad, it's just a shame they had to resort to the whining vocals. Mind you, they probably won't let you use a studio in Ireland unless you sound like U2 anyway. (Adopts Irish brogue.) There's no money in it, go away. Sing like that Bono chappy or you can't come in!
SAMSON: "The Fight Goes On" (Polydor).
G: Girls' heavy metal! The sort of thing you listen to in your South London squat to give you a bit of hope; "there's a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, keep on rockin'."
J: Awful. Awful. I don't like any heavy metal bands except early AC/OC - that's the only stuff with any integrity.
G: They all look like motorbikes.
PET SHOP BOYS: "West End Girls" (Epic).
G: A blatant New Order rip-off, Mellotron choral effects, the works. Blatant!
J: One thing I can't stand about music these days is the introduction of things like the Linn drum and purely synthetic synthesizer stuff. I put this down to that spastic Trevor Horn, right? He's one of the major factors responsible for the way music is nowadays.
G: He's just thriving on the actual lack of creativity in music and playing with toys to compensate.
J: As far as I'm concerned, he is the number one enemy of live music, of what I call soul. I see no future in his direction at all.
G: I think this sort of thing will last another six months.
J: If you listen to the down tracks, they're all so perfect, there's no imperfection. I like hearing sweat and imperfection in music. I like seeing signs of humanity in it but this is soulless.
G: Not only that, they're trying to look like DAF on the cover.
PLAY DEAD: "Blood Stains" (Clay).
J: They can do better than this. They've got some good ideas but they've got to sort their rhythm section out. The guitar's not mixed up enough and there's not enough content in the song itself. There's no melodic development, it's too vague.
G: I think they're a bit too worried about getting the disco side in but at least it has an atmosphere which just about everything else we've listened to doesn't have.
J: We expect better things from them in the future.
IN EMBRACE: "Your Heaven Scent" (Glass).
G: A hideous Soft Cell rip off, hideous. They obviously used to go to Wigan Casino.
PRESSURE DROP: "Daddy Buy Me A Rifle" (Probe Plus).
J: This is like that pack of wankers, The Clash. They can't play their instruments at all, no control. Real rebels with the greased back hair. I can't stand these people at all.
G: They probably talk about Brixton a lot in their interviews.
J: Yeah, real rude boys. Awful.
SANDIE SHAW (WITH THE SMITHS): "Hand In Glove" (Rough Trade).
J: The whole way we've been presented with this single is a record company job. They come in with the favourable photographs and the biography and it just doesn't work. It's sad that Killing Joke happens to be reviewing this single, really sad. This is nonsense. I saw in the NME not so long ago that The Smiths were voted the best act for 1984 - well, that just sums up how many students there are in this country that read the stupid music press - I'm pleased - ourselves and any other up and coming bands should count themselves lucky to be alienated from boogieing down the student union bar. It's definitely a virtue to be alienated from this side of things.
G: I think Mr John Porter is trying to make Sandie Shaw sound like Blondie with a badly done Clash reproduction.
Jaz snaps the record in two.
THE JETS: "Heatwave" (PRT).
J: They're obviously not very intelligent specimens are they?
BLUE NILE: "Stay" (Linn).
THE SOUND BARRIER: "Excerpts From The Suburbia Suite" (Compact).
G: I thought they tried to do a trendy jazz revival two years ago. They're still trying, I see.
NAKED LUNCH: "You Tie Me Down" (Plezure).
G: Another Joy Division rip-off.
J: Rough Trade hippies.
MM: You don't seem to like it very much.
G: What other reason is there for making music? If you liked a lot of stuff, you'd sit down and listen to it. We make music because we don't hear what we want to.
MM: So, single of the week...?
J: Yeah, it's...
KILLING JOKE: "Eighties" (EG).
J: A truly savage sound, a great potential for this band, definitely not girls' music.
G: The most soulful thing to happen for the last 15 years, definitely.
MM: How does it compare with their past work?
J: I think it's a return to roots, going in a new direction. It's heavy stomp, this band were the instigators of the Southern Stomp and we should be looking forward to hearing ...
G: All the imitators!
MM: Some people thought they'd lost their way last year...
G: They've always been out of it though. They never worried too much about marketing, they just delved into whatever they wanted. Most of their records are at least three years ahead of their time. I'm serious ... the actual musical content is so rich, it will stand far longer than any of this other stuff.
J: This band are a heavy dance band, always have been...
G: Sounds really good in a fast car, really good ...
J: It's for those sweaty Monday mornings when you're a bit paranoid about the future of the world. Things look very bright for this band, more marvellous opuses on the way.