Friday, September 23, 2011

What Will You Do

The Raincoats "Shouting Out Loud" from Odyshape (1981, Rough Trade) – recently re-released by the Raincoats' own label, We ThRee, with liner notes by Kim Gordon. I enjoyed Mikey IQ Jones' review of the album in this week's Other Music Update – here it is in full:
The Raincoats' second album, Odyshape, has long been a personal favorite, a record of strength through failure and of constructing new landscapes from pieces of puzzle whose shapes do not make logical sense, but whose emotional resonances sound deeply. Released in 1981, the group had lost drummer Palmolive before the start of the recording; her primal rhythms were one of the defining elements of the group's debut, and rather than try to replicate her attack here, they instead left her sonic space vacant, constructing songs out of many small, interlocking bits of rhythm, often played on instruments mostly unfamiliar to the band. Many African percussion instruments were used, with kalimbas and balafon utilized throughout, and the girls often swapped instruments as well, adding a greater sense of foreign unfamiliarity to the sounds created. The results were, and remain, striking; folk forms, both of an English and African variety, dominate, but nothing can be traced back to record-collector roots in the way a group like the Slits' love for dub reggae and Afrobeat left such distinct fingerprints on their own catalogue. This album remains one of the most unique and truly forward-looking records of the post-punk era in that it sees the Raincoats creating a new language out of personal need rather than gain; traditional songforms are recognized but never subscribed, and guest appearances by percussionists Robert Wyatt and This Heat/Camberwell Now's Charles Hayward give a nod to the era's other reconstructionists who worked in realms where the personal and political were held with balanced weight, and whose own works from this period (namely Wyatt's Old Rottenhat and Camberwell Now's The Ghost Trade albums) mine similar territory. It's hard to imagine someone like Tune-Yards or even St. Vincent making albums like their last respective works without giving a nod to the bridges built by the Raincoats, and Odyshape is one of the most important yet overlooked pieces of the band's discography.
More on The Raincoats here.

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