The independent UK underground has never really been about tunes....
THE INDEPENDENT UK UNDERGROUND HAS never really been about tunes. Its quest has been for a direct connection from the heart to the ear, where the middleman – music – is usually bypassed. Occasionally, though, a record manages to make the marriage, and hold a groove. This collaboration between crusading Newcastle indie label Slampt and New Jersey DIY label Troubleman is one such hen’s tooth.
Not that ‘Taking a Chance…’ doesn’t maintain its quota of unlistenable guff: the UK’s Bilge Pump, Witchknot, Missy X and Small Black Pig do the honours here. But although the post-grrrl racket of Bette Davis And The Balconettes and Full Boney is hardly hummable, the courage of its convictions – and the volume of its amps – are persuasive.
This compilation’s selling point, however, is its Stateside input – the American bands being capable of translating gut feeling into note form. So all the hardcore-derived US outfits here [I]rock[/I] – the Peechees punkily, Monorchid like a baby GVsB, Young Pioneers with a vengeance and the Fall-inspired Computer Cougar pithily – while the Brits, stuck in C86, don’t. The slo-fi of Old Hearts Club (US) sounds like rocket science compared with International Strike Force (UK), while the proto-techno of Replicants (US) shames our underground’s fixation with ropy lo-fi as counter-cultural soundtrack. Overall, though, with honours, a