Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Associates

Released 1981 on Who Cares?
Reviewed by The Sheaman, 07/10/2006ce

This album was released to critical acclaim when it came out but has sunk beyonf recognition.

It is an unusual one to be featured on this site because it isn't by a bunch of nobodies recorded above a convenience store of which only 5 copies exist, or some fucking boring German weirdo recording 10 hours of droning noises that6 sped up sound like a siren repeating "BORINGBORINGBORING".

It's ambitious but not sprawling and overlong and smelling faintly of smack and dust. It's also not made out of an egg carton, a guitar and some candles that sing, but still gripping.

The production work is incredible, to the degree of having fish heads stapled to them and urinating in the instruments. The cavernous reverb and brilliant delay soaked swirls are also something to do with it.

This starts with a short instrumental track and is followed by the sound of sheet metal being shook. On No, there's sped up backing vocals (TECHNOLOGICAL DEVILRY, shouts Billy Cheapish) and Billy Mackenzie sings fantastically.

The album contains some amazing songs.

"Party Fears Two" is a brilliantly beautiful and useful song, with an amzing piano riff and guitar riff. The point it all falls into place is when Billy croons "Even a SLIGHT REMARK/ Makes no sense and turrns to Shark/Have I done something wrong/What's wrong is wrong and always in wrong" anf then a multi tracked Billy moans "Aaaah" through an echo chamber.

"Club Country" has a great bassline and some great paranoid lyrics.
"Let's go somewhere we'll be looked down on"
The track is a beautiful, brilliant and weird pop song.

"Skipping" has some fantastically stupid lyrics, like ravings about "beauxillious griffins". As always, Mackenzie is fantastic. This sounds like a brilliant, beautiful outtake from Lodger.

"Gloomy Sunday" is a cover of a song that has an unfortunate history. Sinead O Connor became a boring middle aged MOR purveyor. singer who has got back her career with her recent ace reggae album. Elvis Costello lost his credibility. Other singers lost their lives through bizarre accidents and suicide.

Mackenzie died by his own hand, which makes this more poignant then the aforementioned because he was a more original burning brilliant mind than Costello (I don't like poor people anymore) or O Connor ( I'm Oirish and outspoken) who are contemporary handlers of this song.

I hope and pray Razorlight, Sting, Cliff Richard, Robbie Williams and many others attempt this song.

The Associates deserve to be appreciated more than the current Duran Duran, Flock Of Seagulls 80's bands revered.

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