We’ve played this the usual dozen or so times but it’s not really an album suited to repeated play. In feeling, it reminded us of PiL for the stripped down intensity, with the vocals/drums giving it the sound of early Siouxsie. There’s a solid drone to the music, with lots of guitar washing over the music in a Jesus And Mary Chain kind of way. It’s a textured “dark hearted noise” say the Press notes.
Ours just came in a slipcase so we have no printed lyrics but the Press notes say they tackle issues as dark as the music: the struggles of the feminist movement, the 1916 rising in Ireland, as well as anger against the Catholic Church.
Live we reckon it could be quite exciting and there is pop music trying to escape the gloomier sound. Jaw on the Floor has a surf pop riff buried in it, while sounding like something we heard back in the day — this would have been well suited to a Fast records compilation featuring Gang of Four, The Mekons and early Being Boiled era Human League.
Catholic Guilt opens in rather glorious fashion, with the slowed-down riff from Magazine’s Shot By Both Sides buried in there before it stops and relaunches with a much harder riff.
Back in the early eighties we probably would have loved this for its intensity that combines (as did Gang of Four) gritty tunes with an ear for melody, as in the chorus of Armalite Rifle. It’s an ambitious and meaty album, with plenty to listen to. It’s a shame we’ve not got the lyrics, really. For fans of Gang of Four, Siouxsie, Jesus And Mary Chain, and angry young women with political points to make.