things " ny decent soul knew about Killing Joke. Firstly. the mutinous, metallic rasp ofsongs like ‘Wardance’, ‘Psyche’ and ‘Requiem‘ provided the best soundtrack for swinging your Doc Martens to at school discos. Secondly, they had a reputation for being a bunch of real difficult bastards. Non-interviews, cancelled gigs, crowd incitement — you name it, Killing Joke did it. Just over a decade later, it seems that little (bar the bondage gear) has changed.
On the evidence of the band’s recent LP. Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions (deep guys, these . . .), the music and the spirit are still as blazing as ever. Main man Jaz Coleman, who’s dispensed with the woad make-up of yore in favour of serious kebab shop owner chic, reckons that Extremities’ relentless, chugging rock is KJ’s ‘most intense’ work to date, and, eight albums into a career forged on manic intensity, that’s really saying something. His original bassist and collaborator Youth has gone on to mellower moments with his Blue Pearl (‘Naked in the Rain‘) project,
but Jaz is re-joined on the current tour by ex-PiL stickman Martin Atkins and guitarist Geordie, the two other founder Joke members. Reports indicate that the live shows are as powerful as ever. a driving mix offire and adrenalin, mastery and insanity.
But the route hasn’t been an easy one for J a2 and friends. A two-year legal battle with their former record company meant an enforced musical standstill for the band and a crippling nervous breakdown for Coleman. The part-Persian, part-Indian vocalist took himself off to Iceland on a voyage of mental self-rejuvenation, publishing a neo-mystical prose treatise on white magic and mythologies along the way. From there, he journeyed to Cairo, where he composed and recorded Songs from the Victorious City, an impressionistic instrumental narrative, performed by a 30-piece Egyptian orchestra. Dismissing the current Roses/Mondays scene as ‘ghastly, hippie music that I don’t identify with at all’, Coleman prefers to let his spiritual outlook on life spill over into his own work, claiming that
Killing Joke‘s music, at its most intense, is ‘something surreal — it locks in with the human pulse.‘ But, surrealism aside, their recent art does retain the group’s traditional. socialist views, an uncompromising ideology defined most fiercely and articulately on the current single, ‘Money is Not Our God’, all fiery guitar work and vitriolic sloganeering.
And if you’re wondering why this preview isn‘t peppered with the customary number of spicy. lengthy quotations, well here’s one from Killing Joke‘s press office. ‘Erm, I’m sorry about all this. They’re somewhere in Germany — we know that, but they‘ve just sacked their tour manager and are refusing to stay in any ofthe hotels that we have listed on the European Tour itinerary. But there’s a gig in Dusseldorfor somewhere tonight, so ifany ofthe band turn up to the soundcheck, I’ll get them to give you a call.’
The call never came .' Killing Joke — still crazy after all these years. Killing Joke play the Network, Edinburgh on Mon 28.
the local ‘groove palace‘. Dousing the Fresh 4‘s arrangement with a i raver-friendly pulse and I sundry studio klaxons, it I nevertheless avoids I submerging Lizz E’s rich. i soulful vocals. Ship-shape l and Bristol fashion, and a further plus for the burgeoning dance scene j down Avon way. (FS) i l Cactus Rain: Till Comes the Morning (Ten Records) The moon casts its otherwordly sheen on the luxurious sands of some Caribbean paradise, as the sea laps gently on the shore and exotic birds pierce the tranquillity with their Iovelorn calls —l don ‘I think. This record is about as evocative of its Latin swing pretentions as the Ninja Turtles’ sewer and as drab as the rainy Monday it was doubtless recorded on. Vocal presence registers nil. and even some competent string and brass arrangements fail to salvage the wreckage. Give me urban realism any day — right. kids? (FS) I Said Florence: Stull Your Quiet Lite (white label) Said Florence are another bunch of Bellshill attention-seekers (must be something in the water). thankfully devoid of cutie nausea or genre-hopping opportunism. who‘ve sold their grannies to record this single, 3 previous demo disco favourite. The song may not live up to its caustic title — sort of progressive rock tarted up for the 905 with a drum-major beat and some token bleeps - but I their attitude is brilliant. l
as 01HOM'9X'IOd L8 zzvr L£1H9l1 we same sxoou M3] “and QISﬂW
Yo fizzy sweeties indeed. (F5)
. “v .‘ - ~‘cJ.8h.~ k... I Carterttte Unstoppable
, Sex Machine: Bloodcport For All (Rough Trade) Carter move one step closer to self-parody with this ‘consistent’ release, which neatly lifts that gigantic 70$ electro beat from Amii Stewart’s
version of ‘Knock on
v Wood' as a suitably epic backdrop for some relentless. zig-zagging
guitar noise and brash Cockney ranting. Predictable but fun. The cover version of Soft
Cell‘s‘Bedsitter’onthc B-side heralds Part 2 in their ‘great pop duos of our time to whose level of genius we aspire‘ series. Place those bets now for a version of Sparks‘ ‘Beat the Clock‘ on the forthcoming album. (FS)
The List 25 January — 7 February 1991 31