When you think of different groups, do certain records spring immediately to mind? Well if you're anything like me they will! OK, let's play an ABC version of that game. I'll go first...
'A' for...er..ABBA. I'm not a major fan, but they're the first I thought of. And the record that comes to mind first is definitely Dancing Queen. They had loads of hits, but that's the one I associate them with most.
'B' for...Boney M. I'm not sure why I thought of them either, because I couldn't stand the silly buggers. It's probably something to do with hearing Rasputin being mentioned on a recent quiz show. Anyway...despite this, the track I mostly associate with them has got to be The Rivers Of Babylon. It was everywhere when I was young!
'C' for The Clash. There, that's a bit better. Personally I've got to go for London Calling. I'd bought most of their singles before that one, so it's not as if I was some Johnny-come-lately. But the moment I thought of The Clash that rousing de-de-de de-de-de-der intro was in my mind like a flash.
Which brings us to 'D' and the reason I'm playing this daft little game. Because 'D' stands for Dressed In Wires and this one is easy-peasy, because I honestly can't hear their name without harking back to the title of an EP of theirs some five or six years ago.
The Big Black Cock Of Death.
Yes, that's a title that's hard to forget. And one that got some inquisitive queries off friends when I included it in my end of year lists back then! And in case you're wondering what it sounded like, well it was electronic music of the most uncompromising variety that seemed designed to mess with your head.
I'm not sure what Dressed In Wires have been up to in the intervening years, but they've clearly not been considering going in a more commercial direction as absolutely nothing on the lengthily titled Bring The Exhibits, Part The Second of Four: Golden The Ship Was - Oh! Oh! Oh! brings the words "sell" and "out" to mind.
Initial listens, however, were massively disappointing. I had a pretty good idea what I was letting myself in for when I agreed to review this, so I was hardly expecting a number entitled If You Want Me, I'm Yours to be some heartfelt love song. But things just didn't seem to get going until the final two tracks and if I had put pen to a paper a month or so ago, that would undoubtedly have been the verdict. However, further immersion reveals that some of the earlier moments were better than I thought. The aforementioned If You Want Me, I'm Yours – which is actually twenty minutes of tin-sheeting-blowing-in-a-gale-force-wind white noise – is not without merit and the tinkly Girl Flavoured is quite pretty as it goes. Seep is more disjointed and slightly unsettling whilst Go Back To The Season finds a piano playing a repeated short burst over an almost marching beat. Warning: this track resembles music! This is, however, more than we can say for It Is a Sinister Mexican Practice which features over-busy beats and sounds that are like an electronic version of scratching your fingernails down the blackboard. It's actually unlistenable to me and that's not something I say often.
Which brings us to the two final numbers. This is where Bring The Exhibits... really steps up a gear. The Work That We Do Here is undoubtedly the highlight of the set for me. There's a strange, almost eerie beauty to it and, although this is just a personal view, I think this is the direction Dressed In Wires should follow in the future. The album ends with Now I Can't Invite You To My House, another fine track, and one with an almost soothing effect that seems at odds with so much that precedes it.