Thursday, 3 October 2013

Top 102 Albums. Minus Nine. Passionoia

Top 102 Albums. Minus Nine. 
Passionoia Black Box Recorder

"From passionate to paranoid"

There's acieeeed! There's Britpop. Then there's Luke Haines, a faraway look of glee in his eyes as he washes the Union Jack in a far more corrosive form of acid.

What can you expect from a man who called one of his bands Baader Meinhof and released a (essential) compilation called Luke Haines is Dead?

I have already featured Luke's first band The Auteurs in this endless countdown. I mentioned his voice dripping cynicism and one commenter(Mr Jones I believe) said that they found his voice difficult. Well, any such difficulty is passed here as, in a nod to Serge Gainsborough, Haines channels his twisted lyrics through the breathy, knowing stylings of Sarah Nixey.

There is an overweaning sense that the currencies traded in the world of this album are devalued. Lives who's defining moments centre around Andrew Ridgely, a woman who wants to be 'the New Diana', being or meeting the possessor of a G.S.O.H. It's as if dreams and personalities are being made from the cheapest of clichés

But alongside the cynicism and the black knowing humour there is a sense of a longing to belong, of a genuine love for some of this ephemera, an understanding of what it is to yearn. "Everybody needs to dream". His slantwise portraits of England remind me of Momus and Mark E Smith. Here's a long extract from When Britain Refused to Sing, a song which takes the end of times feeling that accompanied the many strikes in Britain in the late seventies and the ongoing battles with the trade unions under Thatcher and makes a narcotic fairy tale.
"Shut your mouth, get out of my face
I'll blow you away if you invade my space
Stay off of my land, turn your stereo down
When you drive through the village won't you please slow down?
There are traps in the grass for the working-class
So stick to the path, go home, have a bath
All the farms have alarms, all the hills have eyes
So for God's sake stay out of the countryside"

Probably my favourite song is Andrew Ridgely, a paean to the talentless half of Wham! where breathy ignorance allied tovery knowing winks never fails to crack me up as a story of excess and collapse is melded with the pop soundtrack of the time. I love the subtle melding of Wham! and tooth pulling.
"I had a tooth pulled as a child
I put it underneath my pillow
And when I looked the very next morning
There was a ten pound not
I took it to the nearest record shop
I put it down upon the counter
I gotta tell you what I know to be true
I bought my first record because of you
I was brought up to the sound of the synthesiser
I learned to dance to the beat of electronic drums
I came alive to the smouldering fire in your eyes"
And the way Sarah Nixey sings "Daddy lost everything" before loosely quoting Once in a Lifetime.
There's lots more here and it makes a great soundtrack to a reading of Mr Haines' Bad Vibes.


  1. Yup, twas me dissing Luke's dulcet tones. Who am I to diss? This I like a lot; need to investigate. I met Andrew Ridgley once (you'll be surprised to hear...) He didn't have a lot to say...

    1. But it's not about the words but the smouldering fire in his eyes. Why didn't you invite him to join the Mile? Why don't you? He probably wouldn't want to have too much artistic input and will raise the profile to previously unheard of heights. You'll be the new George Michael. Start practising how to secrete shuttlecocks in your leather trousers now!

  2. Shuttlecocks? I've already got one secreted (ugh) up there somewhere from my 'New Romantic' days Seamus. Haven't seen it for years... but I'm still feeling the benefit...

  3. Once again you are none too subtle, cock. For those bewildered by the connection between Wham! and rackets, see this - http://www.bbc.co.uk/totp2/ugotthelook/wham.shtml

  4. He's a fan of Peter Hammill so I'm inclined to investigate further. The North Sea Scrolls are in the National Concert Hall in November. Too much bile in the one place at the same time, do you think Seamus?

    1. Saw Cathal a few years back and he was angry and dark, but funny too.(http://theknockingshop.blogspot.ie/2010/09/micromansions-on-arbour-hill-cathal.html) I'd like to see the double act. Somewhere between Morecambe and Wise & Burke and Hare, I'd guess.

  5. A guy I worked with several years ago tried to push this record on me, but I resisted. He tried to get me to listen to the Divine Comedy too. I didn't give him or his invitations the time of day. About five years ago I happened upon the brilliance of the Divine Comedy. Now I'm realizing, with your help, he was right about this record too. Sorry, Jeremy, wherever you are. You knew your stuff.

  6. Unlike Neil Hannon, pretty much everything Luke Haines produces is touched with genius. 'England Made Me' is still the superior BBR album, though...!

    Cheers, MisterPrime