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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Pere Ubu - Lady from Shanghai

Pere Ubu claimed that they were going to give us an album that you could dance to, and with 'Lady from Shanghai' they've kept their promise.
There's only one problem.
While you could dance to it there is the chance that people are going to laugh at you.
The only sort of moves that the album will lend itself to are ones that could be mistaken for seizure activity.
This may not be a bad thing for those of us who already lean towards that sort of rhythmic expression.
For once we may not be the only ones that look as if we are playing invisible twister on the dancefloor.
It's definitely going to be interesting when I go to see them.
I doubt that they will be leading the audience in a sing along with them if they concentrate on the new material, but in a perverse way I would maybe enjoy it if they tried.

The album itself is, as we expected, the avant garde expression of where the band are at right now.
There's the usual free form meanderings layered over something a tad more solid, and it's this ability to stray from the path, but keep it in sight, that has allowed me to get along with their output over the years.
While some bands experiment to the point that they have dipped over the horizon and lost me Pere Ubu have always managed to maintain something in their sound that I can hang onto.
I appreciate that.
A little something buried in the aural landscape that is comfortingly recognizable.
While there has been times that I have embraced a certain degree of disappointment in some of the material that they have released I've yet to feel that nudge with Lady from Shanghai.
The track 'Musicians are Scum' is up there with the best that they have done.
It's also one of the more accessible songs on the album, but that's not the reason that it stands out, instead it's because for me it just carries a degree of weight to it.
While other songs are floating about this one feels heavy with the weight of gravity hanging onto it.
There's a pressure there that sounds effectively stifling.
It's pretty much a gateway song for the uninitiated to get into Pere Ubu from.

I suppose in short you could claim that 'Lady from Shanghai' is like the soundtrack to a film that David Lynch is yet to make, and if that sounds alluring then step right up.

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