Death Disco Songs From Under The Dancefloor 1978-84 – Various Artists

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Album Review by EDF

Ah, my youth. Who remembers growing up listening to this sort of music? Actually, I don’t. I was never exposed to most of the artists on this compilation but I did get the chance to be unwillingly exposed to them while employed by a company that will remain nameless. I came to appreciate the experimental and not so experimental groups that exploded from the punk period. Back then, some of the music was puzzling but nevertheless enjoyable and I eventually realised that not all groups came from Sheffield.

Kicking off this post-Sex Pistols compilation, John Lydon’s PUBLIC IMAGE LTD was unlike anything his former band had done but nevertheless managed to split his fans that just did not get what Lydon was doing. ‘Death Disco’ is the choice of track and still manages to excite more than 25 years later. The styles are varied throughout this compilation from the reggae influenced the STEEL LEG VS THE ELECTRIC DREAD’s ‘Haile Unlikely’ to the slow screeching guitars on DELTA 5’s ’Journey’.

It is a possibility that you might have never heard of most of these groups before but that should not stop you from checking this out. There are groups here that sound like the equivalent of some of today’s groups. One example is ‘Warm Leatherette’ by THE NORMAL, did they do TV OD, and THROBBING GRISTLE with ‘United‘ who sound like the forefathers to Ladytron.

Some of the more familiar names that crop up are BRIAN ENO and DAVID BYRNE on the funky ‘The Jezebel Spirit’. Rightly, we find XTC, HEAVEN 17, BUZZCOCKS, and even THE HUMAN LEAGUE before they wrote proper pop songs but my favourite track here is SIMPLE MINDS with ‘Theme For Great Cities’.

There are also some puzzling tracks here such as RIP RIG & PANIC’s ‘Bob Hope Takes Risks’ which sounds like four parties going on at the same time. THE HIGSONS sound’s like a group who have been told to condense an album’s worth of energy into a five and a half minute track. ‘Put The Punk Back Into Funk Parts I & II’ is just full of a raw energy that is somewhat lacking from some of today’s groups. The strange jazz like ‘Do The Wrong Thing’ by LOUNGE LIZARDS goes off like a bad mood turning into a tantrum.

This is a great collection and I’m not saying that just because I know the guy who compiled, ‘Hi Roger’. These are tracks from a point in time when you had no idea what was going to hit the music scene next. Some of it might not be to everyone’s liking and that’s all right. Just ask yourself this question, what is actually out there right now that satisfies everybody?

5 stars