Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Units - Warm Moving Bodies E.P.

The Units
Warm Moving Bodies E.P.


Released 1980 on Self-Released
Reviewed by Klaus Trofobya, 18/10/2008ce


Ok. Let me state right off the bat that my opinion of The Units is a bit slanted. Y'see, My first experience with their music was the B-side of this record, which I heard on a mix tape I stole from a friend's older brother, who had by that time shuffled off to a career, 2.5 kids, a botched extramarital tryst and a hairline receding faster than the Italian army of 1942. The rest of the tape was filled with dreck by Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Kitchens of Distinction, But that lone Units cut captivated me for two reasons: I knew (and could find out) NOTHING about this band (this was a time just prior to the internet being a practical reality, mind you), and more importantly, It rocked like nothing else I'd heard up to that point. I was painfully familiar with the ooey-gooey caramelized nougat centered synthpop of the Eighties, But goddammit, I was a PUNK, and that limp-dicked schmaltz was everything that I, as a card-carrying footsoldier of post-pre-teen suburban chaos was supposed to be railing AGAINST, wasn't it? But there I sat, transfixed by something that not only "featured" the synths I had been carefully trained to dread, but thrust them perversely to the very forefront of its musical attack. Needless to say I had a crisis on my hands and kept my love for the track a secret, letting it and the mysterious band what fashioned it fester in my young mind, like some hapless, closeted southern man-child in a Tennessee Williams play.
Anyway, time passes, and with that passage ignorance and information become more malleable. I learned that there were other bands in late-70's San Francisco besides Dead Kennedys (who knew?). Great, odd beasts like The Residents, Tuxedomoon, Flipper, and, lo and behold, The Screamers, whose very limited back catalogue I devoured, If only because they were the only other band I'd heard that even remotely reminded me of that magical Units track of yore (Still not knowing anything of The Units' history, I was unaware at the time that The Screamers actually predated them by a year or two-though they shared some bills in '79/'80), which by now was relegated to a few foggily remembered bars that would pop into my head while walking to work, my old pilfered cassette now stretched beyond any tangible recognition.

I know, I know, get on with it already...

Well, fast-forward to last year... I was trolling around on MySpace when I probably should've been outside plucking Lilacs or volunteering at a food bank when, dumb fuckin' luck, I found myself staring at a profile for none other than, you guessed it, The Units. What's more, the track, "Inight" was there, for me to listen to again (and again, and again). I nervously typed off a few words to whomever was in charge of the page noting my appreciation, and soon I was engaged in a dialogue with Tex Nology (A.K.A. Scott Ryser), The Units' main protagonist. He mentioned liking some of the comics I'd posted online and offered to trade a cdr copy of their forthcoming retrospective cd for some back issues. I was completely gobsmacked by the prospect, and sent some along as quickly as possible...
And then, after about a week of watching the mail, I got a package which I wasted little time tearing into, and there, along with the promised cdr was an ORIGINAL vinyl copy of the "Warm Moving Bodies" ep, Complete with the B-side I'd spent so much time pining for. Thanks, Tex.
So Yeah, my view of The Units is a bit slanted. But don't think for one second that doesn't mean the music isn't completely remarkable. Everything on the yet-to-be released retrospective sticks in your head like cast-iron shards from a pineapple grenade and refuses to be shaken loose, and application of any of the contemporary Synthpunk/ Power Electronics/ what-have-you that has flourished in the Units' benevolent influence only drives their music deeper, puncturing your vitals and making you deaf to today's "Cocaine and Laptops" drivel.
This is a band that truly deserves a status on par with (and in many respects above) Devo and The Screamers...Hopefully the retrospective cd will help put them there when it becomes available. To ensure that it does, you should bother/encourage Tex at:

http://www.myspace.com/warmmovingbodies

In the meantime he's offering the "Warm Moving Bodies" ep free to download. you should do just that. Even my cat gets excited when I put the record on.


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