Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Virgin Prunes - ..if i die, i die (1982)
The Virgin Prunes' If I Die I Die is not the usual post-punk album.
Keyboard ambient suspense introduces "Ulakanakulot", as if something immense is going to happen. Tribal percussion follows, while a second keyboard-line weaves an anthemic melody over which the guitar paints it's medieval motif, and finally a third line of keyboards adds a truly submerging feel, menacing and disorienting. A stunning introduction to a stunning work.
"Decline and Fall" uses the same ingredients. It starts as a psalm of some mad priest, but adds an epic sad chorus and proceeds as a derranged melancholy piece. "Sweethome Under White Clouds" has the same feel of a litany out of control, Greek traditional funeral music, and also adds a disco backbeat over some truly inspiring guitar and saxophone work. "Bau Dachong", another masterpiece, a delirious decadent cabaret over a mosaic of guitar and piano distortions.
"Baby Turns Blue" is in comparison pure gothic disco, with the discordant electronic chorus et al. In another surprising twist, "Ballad Of The Man" is almost easy listening, half parody and half genuinely anthemic. Ditto for "Walls Of Jericho", but which stands as a tad more Virgin Prunes-ian. And finally, a return to form with "Caucasian Walk", with it's atavistic childish chorus and repetitive intensity, and also with the industrial music-hall "Theme For Thought". >
Throughout the album, the personality that shines the most is singer Gavin Friday, a chameleon that can adapt to any role and give that extra flavour to each song. But the band are no mere sidesmen; under the guidance of producer Colin Newman they provide taste and depth with the instrumentation.
In a sense, the masterpieces of the album all feature in the first (brown) side, while the second indulges in mainstream parodies.
Get it here. Kindly contributed by Nexd.