Thursday, February 28, 2019

Melody Maker - Unknown Pleasures - 20 Great Lost Albums Rediscovered - # 13 The Raincoats -The Raincoats

'The Raincoats offered a completely different way of doing things, as did X Ray Spex and all the books about punks have failed to realise that these women were involved for no other reason than that they were good and original.' 
John Lydon.

'they are so bad that every time a waiter drops a tray we'd all get up and dance.' 
Danny Baker on witnessing the band play live.

One thing immediately evident from even a cursory listening to The Raincoats, the debut album by the band of the same name released in November 1979. is that the band cannot play, at least in any conventional sense. Also that they are not trying to play in the way you might be expecting them to. Instead they are trying to say something. To be something. Being in a band their first objective is not to sell records, at least not truckloads of them, but to find the people who want to listen to them and stand up to those who don't.

This is still a remarkable record almost forty years on and it was good to find an article about it here. It's written by Dave Jennings, and he gives a valuable, unfussy insight into it, concentrating on the band and their records, how they pushed the envelope out, confounding misconceptions and inspiring numerous others to make their own music or just to go their own way, until their career was unexpectedly revitalised when Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love discovered and began to champion them in the Nineties leading them to reform.

The Raincoats is a rare and many splendored  thing, changing track, pace and shape consistently during its course. They do remind me of The Slits at times of course, but the record is so good anyhow it deserves consideration on its own merits.If I was pushed to categorise it I would say it's Post Punk as it shares so much of the gung ho spirit and sheer daring of the best records from that era. It's so right for this series. A masterpiece of the anti-canon.

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