Seven Deadly Finns/Later On

Released 1974 on Island
The Seth Man, March 2001ce
Between his first two solo albums “Here Come The Warm Jets” and “Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)” Eno released this lively and compelling single. Backed by two separate musical units per side, The Winkies on the A side and Robert Fripp on the flip, it’s an early revelation as to the two musical worlds he was then beginning to straddling: manic pop and instrumental...you know...ambient.

Oh, Eno’s reached his apogee of camp on the A side, mebbe more so than the Ferry-dissin’ “Dead Finks Don’t Talk,” but this hermaphrodiddlin’ rooster-to-the-ass tale is one his finest -- perhaps, his best -- from his pre-AMBIENT 1,2, 4 days so pass the peacock feathers and listen up, already.

“Seven Deadly Finns” is a playful, highly sexual and energetic farce that describes the encounter of seven pleasure seeking men from Finland barging into a houseful of powdered, bored French ladies looking for amusement and they wind up with far more than they’ve bargained for, as the seven deadly are an entourage whose perversity is only matched by their appetite. The scenario that unfolds is one characteristic of vintage Eno as descriptions of the group are cryptically detailed (a device he’d re-use on “Back In Judy’s Jungle” and “Backwater”) as a bevy of sexual double entendres are thrown into the whole ‘quirky, new wave’ gamut years before the term was invented as even the totally obscure sexual practise ‘The Burning Shame’ is thrown into the first stanza for cryingoutloud (a Japanese erotic posture involving lit candles that Eno mentioned in passing to his then girlfriend /interviewer Chrissie Hynde in an NME cover story from early 1974: along with the revelation he had recently removed all his body hair below his eyebrows, although Pennie Smith’s accompanying photo spread left well enough alone.)

And yet for all the wordplay -- sexual and otherwise -- “Seven Deadly Finns” is musically an ever-accelerating train to the heart of the G-spot as it runs on and over the fast and furious backing, hurtling as it does under Eno’s clearly enunciated vocals which hint at an orgy to end all orgies in a pop song Sparks or even Marcel Duchamp would’ve killed for. There’s doo-wop, The Velvets, The Pink Fairies even (orcryingoutloud) and Little Richard skinning his favourite Georgia Peach as everything grafts with punk down-stroke guitars channeled through a guitar solo into the musical equivalent of a cum-fest even the randiest prostitute would find taxing to her loins (A completely different mix of this single was released with a far more prominent rhythm guitar so loud it functions more as a lead instrument, with the guitar solo left untreated -- as though said courtesan can lay back and watch the fireflies for a moment, athough it’s an ever-spurtin’ fountain of warm jets, so I’m not guessing it’s urine, by any means)...I mean, the guitarist is playing the guitar, and Eno is playing the guitarist through his portable VCS3, so how twisted is THAT? Long live frivolity, and all that...but the solo is totally out of kilter with the acceptable boundaries of 1974 rock, and Eno’s twisting of knobs make it seem completely NOT of its time.

“Seven Deadly Finns” has a wit matched only by its impeccable and simple structure. And a hint to Eno’s ever-economic working methods get thrown in right before the lyrics dissolve into the severest of vocal treatments:

“Although variety’s the spice of life,
A steady rhythm is the source.
Simplicity’s the crucial thing --
Systemically, of course”

By the finale, the vocals, the guitar solo and everything else are run through Eno’s own VCS3-manipulations so that everything reverberates into a near-orgasmic spastic sphincter shudder with his own, self-described ‘squeakiest voice in Christendom’ getting processed through a gallery of sonic treatments that range from stuttering, pre-sampling staccato to psychedelic yodeling. It’s the musical equivalent to riding your partner “La Dolce Vita”-esque when all you care about is that ever-hammering dorsal throbbing in yer temples…

The B-side, “Later On” is parenthetically credited as “A Collage of Extracts from Fripp/Eno’s “‘No Pussyfooting’” and it’s exactly that: nearly five minutes of snatches from that slightly shifting, ever-impressionist album as “The Heavenly Music Corporation” and “Swastika Girls” are remixed together with an additional harmonic and wordless vocal, courtesy of Eno’s soothing larynx as it lulls it all downstream.

Unorthodoxy, wit, sexiness, electronics and a pre-punk guitar solo -- Not too much to ask from a top 40 single, is it?

Whatever happened to Randi and The Pyramids?

Champagne and valium, anyone?