Monday, October 04, 2004
The Name Of This Band Is Personal Effects
One of the many albums that I found earlier this year at The Record Store That Sells Albums From The 80's That No One Has Ever Heard Of is pictured above. I was excitedly planning to track down some whisps of info about it and post them here, but the band beat me to it. Damn.
On the plus side, this means that even though I'm hosting two songs here (Love Never Thinks and Magic) you can actually go to their website and download the whole EP, and eventually all of the band's releases. I asked them when the rest would be up, but didn't get a clear answer. I guess we'll leave it at "eventually."
Not that they really sound alike, but I'd tend to recommend this first EP, which originally came out in 1983, to fans of Game Theory as well as to the regular New Wave crowd. Think New Wave with a lot of slightly psych sonic touches, as played by people with a big record collection who know how to use a guitar when they want to. I had asked the band who their influences were, and got the answer, "We listened and listen to everything for Abba to Xenakis." Normally I'd take that as bullshit, but the sound of the EP actually sort of lives up to that. I'd swear, for example, that the opening of Love Never Thinks reflects someone who's heard R.L. Crutchfield's Dark Day. I forgot to ask them about that.
The Personal Effects EP also has some interesting and reasonably ambitious lyrics that manage not to be dumb, though the line "we were just two lemurs on a high branched tree-top..." just squeaks by on the strength of Peggy Fournier's delivery. She sings lead on all the songs and has a pretty great voice in that detached/sexy mode that falls somewhere between Deborah Harry and, well, lots of other female New Wave singers. She also plays sax from time to time, and I'm assuming that the EP's cover is a painting of her. I don't quite understand why I haven't seen her profiled in a "Women who rock" type thing, given that she writes material, sings, plays an instrument, and looks cute as a button in the photo on the back of the EP.
One of the best things about the Personal Effects' website is that, for once, the Lost New Wave band saved all their cool stuff. Which means that, in addition to the forthcoming mp3s of all of their albums, you get a bunch of vintage videos. Some of these are pretty priceless, including a live appearance on a local dance party show, where the announcer discusses the new-fangled New Wave thing. The video of their earlier incarnation as the Hi-Techs is also worth checking out. I wish they'd post the Hi-Techs' songs as mp3s too, but that's a question that I asked that didn't get answered.
This isn't necessarily the hookiest stuff around -- it's arty New Wave more than poppy New Wave -- so I'm not sure if it'll grab you on first listen. The first time I played the EP I could tell that the group was interesting, but wasn't sure if they were good. Lately, though, I've gotten pretty addicted to this and I'm really looking forward to hearing more.