So, from 'Anywhere' we move onto the boys' third album 'Warp'.
Out go Tony Hibbert (bass) and Phil Towner (drums), in comes Cliff Venner on percussion and vocals. But Tony & Clive are still very much present, so it should be business as usual, shouldn't it?
I first heard this track in John Menzies in Runcorn Shopping City. I knew the girl behind the counter and she knew I was a big NM fan, hence she put it on over the speakers in the shop. Instantly I was impressed and relieved.
Even without Tony's vocals, which don't appear on the first track, it was still unmistakably NM. I mean, that Chic (Chik) guitar riff. Who else could it be?!
And, superficially, somehow the approach sounded more overtly synth-pop - and perhaps in some way more "trendy"?
But on closer examination, things were obviously different. No metronomic beat, instead a more electronic, quirky, lilt - and what's the sploshing water all about?!
The sound isn't quite as lush, it's thinner. Clive's melodic, infectious synth pads (usually the bedrock of many NM tracks) are electronic ephemera, ingredients rather then the whole.
One thing that hasn't changed though is repetition! And mention should be made of the complex electronic percussion, Cliff certainly appears with a bang!
Generally this is a good, solid start to the album in my opinion.
I will be very interested to hear people's thoughts about this track, and the rest as we get to them.
"What a radical departure", or words to that effect, are probably most listener's reaction to what greats them with the first track on this new album. Well, that was my thoughts at the time, some 17 years ago.
Synthetic drums burst from the stereo soundstage. Electronic cymbals (?) and percussive effects abound. This is clearly more rhythmic (Mr Venner's influence?) than what had gone before. The mood is different. This is more synthetic, more electronic, and dare I say futuristic? Gone are the trademark touches of NM Mk1 - the acoustic strums, the sonar pings), replaced by.... well, a new sound and feel.
And speaking of different, how about those percussive sploshing water effects? An ingenious touch in a way only Tony could have delivered. I like them.
And the lyrics? Well they are the most simple ever NM lyrics on paper, but what do they signify? Who are the people, and where are they coming from...? Don't ask me! All I know is they are delivered by someone who sounds nothing like Tony, is an upper class accent.
Where are those saarf Laandon accents? (A deliberate touch of irony, maybe?)
The ending is neat. The percussion drops and the water effects take centre stage. There is a nice warmth to the sound. It then segues (almost) into track 2, in another flash of experimental cleverness which would mark out Warp from any other album I have ever heard.
It's different, it's experimental, and well.. it's just mad. There is no other word for it. But It's a promising start to the album. You just have to listen to it in a new way. Preferably with alcohol :)
I found Warp in a second hand shop in Walthamstow many years ago. There were 2 copies so I bought them both cos I knew one of my mates would want it. I hadn't listened to New Musik for several years because I had moved on. But...
After playing this album to death, in the bedroom, in the car, in the kitchen, I started playing the other 2 albums again.
Here Come the People instantly got me hooked. And I don't reckon it's that different from what's come before it. Warp has been described as NM Mark II, but I think that apart from the line up change, the change in sound isn't that much of a surprise, as was not the change between the first 2 albums.
Do you reckon that's Cliff singing/talking? The splosh that coincides with the snare drum was done before (Orange Juice) but Tony's was better. The bass is synth bass with the odd slap here and there. The groovy guitar strumming is indeed reminiscent of Chik Musik. The song isn't filled out with strings and stuff like some NM songs, but neither were a few on Anywhere. The only stark difference between this and previous tracks is those synthetic drums played manually. They are played well by Cliff, but I don't like the sound of them, I never have. They're probably those syn-drum things. Yuck.
It is different and I love it to bits, but in hindsight all these years later, I think it's starting to Warp...
I waited with great anticipation for this album, after the excellence of Anywhere what would it be like? The omens were bad, two of the four members had gone, their label GTO had been swallowed up by the mighty Epic label and to be honest it looked liked the new label didn't know what to do with them....
There had been two releases prior to the album, The Planet Doesn't Mind and the cover of All You Need Is Love which recieved the worst reviews I've ever seen!
Still, being a NM fan I rushed out and bought the album and played the first track...
A voice, maybe Cliff's, simply repeated the title over and over, no classic NM touchs and worst of all the dreaded syn drums were there.
Splashing water in time to the beat, what was that all about?
By the time the running water had signalled the end of the track I was worried.
But then I remembered that Anywhere had started off with a minute of weird and wonderful noises which, on first listen, made you think WTF?
So what would the next track bring??