|New Wave [Expanded Edition, 2 CD]|
The Auteurs — New Wave [Expanded Edition, 2 CD] (22 February 1993/2014)
–•¬ Luke Haines: jeden z nejlepších Angličanů a nejvtipnějších textařů, co můžeš najít, ale také jeden z nejvíce nepochopitelných.
–•¬ Kříženec mezi The Smiths a Velvet Underground.
Location: London, England
Album release: 22 February 1993/2014
Record Label: Cherry Red / 3 Loop Music (Hut Records)
All songs written by Luke Haines.
01 "Showgirl" 4:08
02 "Bailed Out" 3:45
03 "American Guitars" 3:32
04 "Junk Shop Clothes" 2:44
05 "Don't Trust the Stars" 2:27
06 "Starstruck" 3:02
07 "How Could I Be Wrong" 3:55
08 "Housebreaker" 2:59
09 "Valet Parking" 2:57
10 "Idiot Brother" 5:47
11 "Early Years" 2:42
12 "Home Again" 3:28
13 "Subculture" (They Can’t Find Him) — Original LP Bonus 7”/CD Hidden Track 2:14 (hidden track; it follows 20 seconds of silence after the end of "Home Again")
14 She Might Take a Train — Original LP Bonus 7” 1:39
15 Glad to Be Gone — Showgirl B–Side 2:08
16 Staying Power — Showgirl B–Side 2:49
17 Wedding Day — How Could I Be Wrong B–Side 2:10
18 High Diving Horses — How Could I Be Wrong B–Side 4:01
2014 Expanded Edition Bonus Tracks (Disc 2)
01 "Housebreaker (Rough Trade Singles Club 7”)" 2:57
02 "Valet Parking (Rough Trade Singles Club 7”)" 2:45
03 "Starstruck (Acoustic)" 2:57
04 "Junk Shop Clothes (Acoustic Version)" 2:45
05 "Housebreaker (Acoustic)" 2:39
06 "Home Again (Acoustic Version)" 4:01
07 "New French Girlfriend (BBC Radio Session)" 3:20
08 "Government Bookstore (BBC)" 3:51
09 "How Could I Be Wrong (BBC)" 3:53
10 "Junk Shop Clothes (BBC)" 2:50
11 "Bailed Out (Original 4–Track Demo)" 3:43
12 "American Guitars (Original 4–Track Demo)" 3:37
13 "Showgirl (Original 4–Track Demo)" 4:14
14 "Glad to Be Gone (Original 4–Track Demo)" 2:15
15 "Starstruck (Original 4–Track Demo)" 2:57
16 "Early Years (Original 4–Track Demo)" 2:45
–•¬ Luke Haines — guitar, piano and vocals
–•¬ Alice Readman — bass guitar
–•¬ Glenn Collins — drums
–•¬ James Banbury — cello
–•¬ James Banbury Cello
–•¬ Peter Barrett Design
–•¬ Joe Beckett Percussion
–•¬ Kuljit Bhamra Percussion
–•¬ Andrew Biscomb Design
–•¬ Stefan de Batselier Photography
–•¬ Luke Haines Composer, Guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
–•¬ Alice Readman Bass
–•¬ Phil Vinall Engineer, Producer
–•¬ Chris Wyles Percussion
–•¬ The Auteurs released their debut album New Wave in 1993. Collected here in a brilliantly thorough re–issue package which presents us not only with the immaculate record itself but also a thorough collection of demos, b–sides and live takes, it’s an album that was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize (losing out to the only band in the UK The Auteurs seemed to actually respect — Suede), was lauded in the weeklies when they mattered (and there was more than one of the filthy rags) and led the way for three further Auteurs records in the following half a dozen years, peaking with the masterful, Albini–produced After Murder Park in 1996.
–•¬ After the puzzling sight of Luke Haines’ awkward, baroque, blood–dark band supporting Suede during ‘92, our interest further piqued by the buzz–saw beauty of the ‘Showgirl’ single later that same year, New Wave was our first chance proper to gain full access to the parameters of Haines’ songwriting mind. It’s true of many truly great bands and artists that they create their own language, their own universe that runs parallel to the one in which we exist — at the time of this record Suede were doing just that, albeit in an overt and self–regarding kind of way that would ultimately end in dire cliché — and Haines falls comfortably into this category. While ‘New Wave’ itself may simply be a 12–track guitar–pop album, its concerns are so consistent, its outlook so intensely personal, its writer would find himself exploring the boundaries of the worlds he conjured here right up to the present day.
–•¬ It’s a record of dirt, of grime, of laughing when you should vomit, of biting when a smile is expected, a record set as firmly in a specific group of places, captured in as certain a kind of light, as any (dare we?) concept album. From the assassinated dancing girls and unpleasant parties of the ornate, cello–drenched ‘Bailed Out’ to the vaudeville and rehab cocktail of the richly textured yet poisonous ‘Starstruck’ via the home invasions and petty thievery of both ‘Housebreaking’ and ‘Home Again’, Haines’s is a world not of faded glamour but of a more general malaise — the disappointing, greying, ugly nature of, well, almost everything.
–•¬ If that sounds like a downer you’d be mistaken, because this is all handled here with arch humour of the first order: “Lenny Bruce never walked in a dead man’s shoes, even for one night” warns Haines on the melancholic, piano–splashed ‘Junk Shop Clothes’; “They were like a pair of dumb dogs rolling in the dirt” contrasts with “I wanna kill your sister…with some business advice” on the slamming glam rock of ‘Idiot Brother’; and on closer ‘Subculture’ we have the damning “Jesus what a jerk / How did I get into this?” to send us on our way, heads bowed, sniggering.
–•¬ All this talk of Seventies sexuality, of Nineties isolation, of timeless, endless lurid disillusionment is delivered in Haines’ quivering, downbeat grin of a voice, shredded through the very same American guitar(s) sound they reference on the song of the same name, brought to heel with simple, low–slung bass notes from Alice Readman, made ornate and somehow beautiful with bows of James Banbury’s cello, driven forward by Glen Collins’ crisp, snapping drums — the only instrument in the mix that seems unsullied by the anguish of the lyrics.
–•¬ The album is almost uniformly compelling — The Go–Betweens managed by Shelley Winters, Sunset Boulevard re–written by John Osborne, T–Rex if instead of hitting the charts they’d hit the gutter. While Haines’ guitar would snake and serrate to slightly greater effect on the aforementioned After Murder Park this first impression is one you’ll probably never shake.
–•¬ The extras here are thorough, at the least interesting, at best essential. In the former camp sit the Rough Trade Singles Club versions of ‘Housebreaker’ and ‘Valet Parking’ which are gentler creatures than their album incarnations, clearer and less guitar dominated while in the latter are the frankly fucking outstanding home demos that secured The Auteurs their first Suede tour. Six songs recorded by Haines in his living room are the absolute pinnacle of dustbin DIY — Haines plays cardboard box drums, his voice hissing through the 4–track, buried under a corrupting avalanche of ragged guitar and thudding, stamping basslines that threaten to drown the entire endeavour; ‘American Guitars’ sounds like it has been recorded for a Burzum album, ‘Glad to be Gone’ is already replete with its Tom Verlaine lines — even if they do sound like they are being played through a late Eighties boombox. Elsewhere there are perfectly interesting live and alternate takes as well as the tracks that appeared on the 7–inch that came free with the original vinyl release. It’s a grand package all told.
–•¬ While the Nineties went on to become, in terms of British music at least, an uninspired shitfest of lager and parkas and faux–mods and faux–bands and things being sort of massive but sort of rubbish at the same time from which it has never quite shaken the dreadful hangover, Haines and The Auteurs (as well as Haines alone or with Black Box Recorder and Baader Meinhoff) waded at waist–height through the slop, occasionally stumbling, but mostly sneering and throwing sideways glances at their wildly inadequate peers, being generally brilliant and perceptive, controversial and darkly humorous and, of course, selling very few records indeed. This is where the overgrown, hidden path began. If you have followed over the years then you’ll need this if only for those magical, horrible demos. If you are a newcomer to Haines’ world? It’s time you took the first step into the darkness.
–•¬ New Wave (1993) — UK No. 35
–•¬ Now I’m a Cowboy (1994) — UK No. 27
–•¬ After Murder Park (1996) — UK No. 53
–•¬ How I Learned to Love the Bootboys (1999) — UK No. 114
Joe Kennedy, March 17th, 2014 10:05
–•¬ 'Valet Parking', the ninth song on The Auteurs' reissued debut album New Wave, sidles into the perspective of an aggrieved driver weighing the odds of what might be a crystalline Camusian crime, a bravura acte gratuite. In a paradoxically reedy croon, Luke Haines sings “Never saw your driver’s eyes […] we were plotting your demise,” thus forecasting the tenor of twenty–one years' work. With The Auteurs, with Black Box Recorder, and on his own, Haines has succeeded pretty much unfailingly in giving shape to the resentment and aggression which, in their imperfect repression, give English life its character.
–•¬ To revisit the album is, perhaps, to imagine an alternate history for Britpop in which that maligned pseudo–movement retained some critical wit. Pop–cultural history persists in misremembering the 90s as a period of national confidence to match that of the 60s: Noel's cocaine cornflakes, Blur sudsing up with Jo Guest, heist films with Sadie Frost, Baddiel and Skinner arsing around as Shearer and Sheringham put the Dutch to the sword at a pulsating, multicultural Wembley. The earlier portion of the decade is strangely unremembered and underthought, patronised as an undramatic overshoot of the eighties without the haircuts. But this is a screen memory. In February 1993, when New Wave was released, unemployment was grazing three million, far–right activity was troubling the streets and terraces, and anxiety was once again mounting about terrorism. The year was also marked by several particularly traumatic murders and their attendant moral panics whilst, abroad, the Pax Americana of 1989 was called into question by war in Somalia and the sharp escalation of ethnic conflict in the Balkans.
–•¬ So, the 90s were not simply a decade–long episode of Game On: they also incorporated the post–Thatcherite shiftlessness documented in programmes like Cracker. New Wave is an equivalently telling report from the Major Years, and, in its acuity, it's possible to spot what went missing as Britpop hit the front pages. Much has been made of the political relevance of Pulp, but their bite was overstated — 'Common People' is, when it comes down to it, pretty inspecific — and the social observations of Blur and Suede ended up trapped in literary nostalgia and an ultimately affirmative romanticism respectively. Haines, on the other hand, embraced an uncompromising Anglo–cynicism, the magnified ennui of 'That's Entertainment' or 'Field Day For The Sundays' or 'Careering'. 'Showgirl', the opener, might inhabit the Margate–out–of–season mien held dear by Damon Albarn and Brett Anderson, but there are finessing details which demonstrate that this is more than just a musicalised nod to Brighton Rock. The layabout narrator takes "a job on the side / in a health shop" but, you suspect, lives mostly off his titular wife's earnings to sustain a dilettante intellectualism. The lack of direction feels like an allegory for the times.
–•¬ The album works as a preliminary sketch of Haines' style of impressionistic narration, which captures its material from a gradually shifting perspective, as if the vignettes are being passed by on a speed–restricted train. There's no urge to provide every detail or over–describe, no imperative to put too much flesh on the bones of the world being evoked. Who, for example, is the subject of the canon–like 'Junk Shop Clothes', garments which "will get you nowhere / No summer pavilion / No shooting season"? Who is the victim of the "varied rich/ and famous crime" alluded to by 'Housebreaker'? Enough is put forward to convey a mood and a sense of creeping unease, but there's a raconteur's wisdom to the minimalism. There are enough novels which seek to omnisciently present a reality in its naked entirety: New Wave opts instead for poetics apt to lives half–seen and quarter–known which still manage to linger in the imagination. In fact, the sensation conjured by the record on the whole is that of half–forgotten souvenirs — some traumatic, some merely enigmatic — from childhood, a seam of deformed nostalgia that Haines has continued to mine into the present day.
–•¬ earing this unease, the music is notable both as a template for Britpop's antimodernist arrangements and as an avant–la–lettre condemnation of overproduced guitar stodge. Eerie elegance prevails as the striking note of the record: the guitars plot brittle geometries while resisting virtuosity or offer footholds of blocky chords, the drums alternate between a propulsive and restraining function, James Banbury's cello — the last good cello in 90s guitar music, for that matter — adds a melancholy which is never allowed to become mawk. 'Starstruck' could be the echt Auteurs song, its ebb and flow wrapped in a threadbare tinsel of (high–) pitched percussion as Haines voice sparks a dissonance of mood, an alchemy of invested sadness and comfortably distanced disdain. From the snarkier end of the band's body of work, 'Idiot Brother' is a spiky canter through an imminence of petit bourgeois catastrophe which reminds the listener that the landscape of the Auteurs resembles a Surrey satellite town at least as mucch as Camden. Retrospectively, you could almost see Haines as the collective unconscious of Hyacinth Bucket and Gordon Brittas.
–•¬ The best aspect of the expanded reissue is the appending of a radio session from January 1993 which features 'New French Girlfriend' — Haines at his most fantastically sneery — and 'Government Bookstore' alongside versions of 'How Could I Be Wrong' and 'Junk Shop Clothes'. There are also several acoustic versions and 4-track demos, the latter presumably included as a way of highlighting the 'pure' quality of the songwriting — something I suspect was never really in dispute. Beyond the extras, New Wave now stands as an important document not only of the alienated national mood which preceded Cool Britannia, but as a well–formed pre–emptive corrective to the worst of Britpop. –•¬ http://thequietus.com/
Written by Ged Babey, 13 February, 2014
|New Wave [Expanded Edition, 2 CD]|