Searching For The Young Soul Rebels / Too-Rye-Aye

Not so much a band as a way of life...

Not so much a band as a way of life, the sight of Dexys staring down through history in their donkey jackets is as threatening now as it was in 1980. In a post-punk world which was fractured and increasingly flamboyant, Kevin Rowland and Al Archer's original vision for Dexys Midnight Runners was austere and certain.

A final rejection of all things 'fancy', their press photographs showed them jogging in formation like convicts or standing in dilapidated lock-up garages. They presented themselves as the bank robbers of soul but, as their titanic opening statement on 'Searching For The Young Soul Rebels' (with bonus multimedia bits) shows, they were smart criminals.

'Burn It Down' was a statement of intense arrogance, with its ringing chorus of literary name-checks and final blunt statement of: "Shut your fucking mouth 'til you know the truth". 'Tell Me When My Light Turns To Green' was the exact opposite - Rowland's quavering voice recounting the torments of his 23 years as he wonders how he's ever going to dig himself out of the rut he's in.

Within a couple of years Rowland would make one of the legendary albums of the '80s, 'Don't Stand Me Down', and pen the theme to the miserable Karl Howman sitcom Brush Strokes. Driven by his own inscrutable internal logic, he remains, in all his tortuous twists, the abiding enigma of his generation.

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