I felt so very cool and ‘in’ when I purchased this slab of vinyl way back when.
Of course, The The was at that stage just one somewhat surly man, Matt Johnson – the thinking fan’s ‘MJ’.
So, securing this ‘hard to find’ earlier solo release had me feeling like I’d snuck into some illusive, elite club.
Legend has it that Johnno recorded and tinkered with this opus after hours while teaboy in a studio. It is damn impressive in such a context, as it is a highly complex, multilayered soundscape built around innovative tape loops and effects.
Matt went on to develop these skills and techniques in his The The incarnation. The later works were much more listenable and enjoyable.
This collection is more daunting. Lyrically his embryonic status is still impressive and expressive. Musically the industrial/psychedlic adventuring is more jarring and overwhelming than need be.
There is so much promise and prescience in this record (with the benefit of hindsight), but it isn’t the obvious entry point for a newbie.
As it’s a long time to ‘T’ here’s MJ in his future:
File under: A testing taster