Friday, 2 March 2012

Some Girls Wander ?

By the time the Sisters releases up to and including Temple of Love finally saw the light of day as a CD release in 1992, Eldritch had become embarrassed about the band's "baby photos", and was keen to point out that they were largely being released to help to fulfil the terms of the band's contract with WEA, along with later compilation Overbombing, as well as to prevent fans from having to pay ridiculous sums to obtain the rarer early 45s. Although the sound production and studio techniques had clearly evolved since the early days, particularly on Floodland and Vision Thing, the earlier releases had advantages which those which were to follow would struggle to match : none of the later albums have the energy and swagger of the Merciful Releases, and as the Doktor became more complex and more subtle, so one of the attractions of the band - the clinical, pulsating drum-machine-n-bass rhythm section - melted from view. The early Merciful Releases stand up as songs, but also as objets d'art, with the iconic sleeve designs which eschewed the trend at the time for band photos (usually black and white against a graffittied wall or in a disused factory), band member listings and other fan-friendly information. Compare the Some Girls .. original singles and EPs against their contemporaries - Bauhaus, X Mal, the Batcave crew et al - and both sonically and artistically (as artefacts), they stand out as design and musical classics. Although Eldritch still claims to be unenamoured of the early singles, the fact that three singles were subsequently re-recorded for WEA release and that even the unloved Anaconda and the lyrically primitive Kiss the Carpet have featured on the 30th Anniversary tour show that his attitude to these early classics, as on so many topics, is mellowing.

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