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Former Prefects/Nightingales guitarist, Joe Crow, released his debut solo 7” on Cherry Red in 1981. Now expanded to five tracks and remastered, this reissue shows the Birmingham, UK musician coming into his own.
“Compulsion,” later covered by Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore in 1989, builds a moody atmosphere with dark, melodic synths, melancholy vocals and somber lyrics about suicide. The original b-side, “Absent Friends,” follows in tone as a cyberpunk dirge from an alternate Middle Ages. Both songs were recorded entirely by Crow to 8-track, but the bonus material comes from a mini-LP, Ken Blagdon Sings, recorded around the same time with a full band including Crow, photographer Brendan Jackson and Nightingales bassist Eamonn Duffy. These jangly tracks recall the psychedelic emotionalism of early Love viewed through the prism of punk. It’s an engaging document from the often overlooked English Midlands.
After this, Joe Crow seemingly faded into relative obscurity, only releasing a seven-song CD in 2007 called Coincidence (Big Print). Hopefully, more of his music will crop up in the future.
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