A South Bronx Story

...filled with a timeless teenage spirit that refuses to age, even as its owners grow...

A South Bronx Story

8 / 10 Ninety-eighty-one seems a whole distant galaxy away now. Time, however, has found it slightly harder to diminish the underground clout of ESG, four Puerto Rican sisters from the South Bronx and a friend, who epitomised the cultural crossovers and melting pot nature of the early hip-hop years.

Fjted by the Mancunian Factory label, for whom they recorded the salient 'You're No Good', and destined to share stages with The Clash, Public Image Ltd and Gang Of Four among others, ESG remain a no-wave New York group unlike any other.

The secret is in the minimal bass, drums and percussion, liable to induce hypnotic trances, over which scratchy guitars and a guileless voice (as if on loan from a '60s girl group) flits. Space is what they learned from the late producer, Martin Hannett, and use to such ghostly effect in their own mutation of 'Moody (Spaced Out)'.

On this compilation even later tracks, like the defiant 'Erase You', are filled with a timeless teenage spirit that refuses to age, even as its owners grow. Plus, and doubleplusgood, it's a testament to ESG's prowess that a multitude of samples by others never get close to depriving this ultra-cool music of its essential mystery.

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