Monday, 10 August 2009

Suicidal Tendencies

It's always a source of great delight for me how musical discoveries and rediscoveries have a knock on effect, interest in one area naturally colliding into another, and so on, endlessly. For instance, listening to shitloads of The Cars in research for my megapost on the Boston group reminded me of the links between Ric Ocasek and NYC electro pioneers Suicide, and now I'm in the midst of rediscovering the rich legacy of Vega and Rev, which in turn is leading towatds a rediscovery of the individual members' solo careers.

One of the most rewarding new/old discoveries to come out of this has been Vega's Saturn Strip, described in the Cars post as an ill-fated bid for mainstream acceptance. Its saddening that this record didn't make Vega a household name, but hardly surprising as it's fucking insane. The fact that Vega, producer Ocasek and presumably Elektra thought they had a hit on their hands is simultaneously dumbfounding and touching - what gloriously innocent days those must have been!

I love the fact that they had such high hopes for this album of wired minimalist electropunk, especially as Vega's screws have never seemed looser, particularly on the gut-churning cover of Hot Chocolate's 'Every 1's A Winner'. At first, this guitar-heavy interpretation seems to offer little more than a cheap laugh of semi-recognition, but it's become a bit of an earworm round these parts; I've found myself automatically playing it on repeat at home, then while out, I've caught myself absently mumbling "no, no, no, yeah, yeah, no" like a futuristic hobo. Funny how Vega's tossed off ad-libs have fast become more memorable to me than the actual lyrics. Then again, the actual lyrics were written by Errol Brown. I know who I'd rather quote.

'Jukebox Baby' is one of the album's weaker tracks, but don't let it put you off - Saturn Strip is essential listening for all fans of bad (meaning good) craziness.