SPASMODIC CARESS – Fragments Of… (Falling A)

Spasmodic Caress are another forgotten band of the late 70’s new wave movement, and to remind you what you missed here are the six tracks that they recorded at Hillside studios, and a live gig supporting Bauhaus. Bassist Peter Ashby is the link between this band and the label - you will hear more of him later - and it is his inventive basslines which stand out on a lot of these tracks, taking the band up a step from the slew of second rate groups that were around at the time. ‘Fragments’ is a prime example of the Killing Joke influence which permeates some of these tracks, with the bass and vocals dead ringers for early Joke. ‘SPG’ is an overtly political song about the Southall riots, while ‘Relapse Time’ is more of a nod to punk that the other songs. ‘Register Of Electors’ rounds off the studio part of this CD with the electoral registration form for 1980 being read out by Phil Mister over a suitably dubby KJ backing. Considering that these six songs were recorded at a studio which concentrated mainly on country and western recordings the results are not that bad, although the band themselves thought that were rather weak. The live part of the CD duplicates a number of the previous tracks, but it is interesting to hear them in a live setting, and new songs ‘Do Not Disturb’, ‘Limit’, and ‘Absolute Darkness’ are in the same vein as their other material. The sound quality is as ropey as you would expect from an audience member’s cassette recording, but it is perfectly listenable and gives a feel of what the band were like as a live entity. The CD is completed with one of two tracks recorded at Blackwing Studios for the 4AD compilation album ‘Pressages’. The label chose ‘Hit The Dead’, leaving the studio recording of ‘Register Of Electors’ as an out-take, making its first appearance on this disc. As a historic artifice this CD does its job in bringing to our attention a perhaps unjustly overlooked band, and as the music does stand up surprisingly well today this CD is definitely worth investigation.