posted on April 5, 2017 at 5:01 pm

zeitgeist #82/83

(blog commissioned by KN)

boy in 1982 i was somebody else

and i was making my third album

i was a confused little pouting ninny

our 2nd album had done pretty good

but an EP called sing-songs had kinda bombed

so here we are

late 1982 after a tour taking in sweden where i met karin jansson

in australia i was dating that glamorous newsreader

yeah you know who i mean

the heroin years still 8 years ahead of me

angular blah blah blah

living in terrace house with russell in rozelle

lots of people sitting around taking drugs

scruffy young art college types

bonging on and smoking cigs

white wine and negative photos and clothes patterns and demo tapes

open fire me and russell both slightly pyro playing around with it

the phone rings with girls asking for russell

our voices are similar

sometimes they think i am him and its embarrassing

when i say no actually thats my brother...

i got my studio in the front room

i gotta 4 track tape recorder

and im knocking out tunes by the dozen

i go in there and i fire up the equipment

i gotta tr808 drum machine

which is responsible for a lot of the drum patterns on seance


demo-itis had gripped the recording of seance by the balls

the demo versions were too closely adhered to and it was my fault

the songs never got to really blossom and flow like on blurred crusade

and again on heyday

they remain kinda rigid

lyrically i seem to be playing the part of some Byron-esque melancholia addict

reaching through a medium to find my dead fiancee or whatever the fuck its supposed to be

the agony of separation

the romance of death

the triumph of love

puh-lease! spare me…

anyway back in 1982/3 this is where my head was at

total demos

every song sounds just like a well recorded demo

i have 2 great guitarists and a great drummer

but they ended up mostly playing the stuff from the demos

i dunno if i intended it to be this way

but i can see now what a bad idea it actually was

the songs never breathe

locked into these formats i have devised

every instrument plays its counterpoint pattern

everything is made up of little patterns

the drums the bass the guitars the tinkly keyboard bells things

listen to one day made up of interlocking riffs

only at the end of the guitar solo does any freedom happen

the whole thing was totally compounded

when EMI in their wisdom insisted on hot shot wunderkind Nick Launay mixing it

Launay had done some great work with midnight oil and rejuvenated their sound

but his early eighties box of electronica tricks makes the church sound merely dated

i dont blame him

he had his one special sound at that stage and thats what you got him in for

anyway seance ended up sounding boxy and tinny and flat instead of big and soft

i couldnt do anything about it

it was beyond my power to stop it

the whole album is a weird proposition i think

its always the album those old style church fans like

we rarely play anything off it either

its got that great cover picture taken by russells girlfriend kim

its got that ridiculous track travel by thought

‘a stoned jam that never should have made it into the studio let alone out again’

(said someone in melody maker i think)

its got that great joy division influenced track it doesnt change

its got that great opener fly

(the girl dies in the first song so bloody miserable is seance)

theres a few flashes of sunlight but mostly its sad doomed love stuff

4th form poetry and slightly clunky songs

i dunno now its so long ago

i listened to it last night before i wrote this

its ok i guess but a feeling that the bands wings are clipped often pervades

this was the album where i was at the height of my control freak period

i had it all figured out exactly how it should be and i oversaw the whole thing

we were victims of the zeitgeist and there is definitely some dated ideas in there

some underdone songs

and a load of flat singing

flat as a freaking tack jack

one review said that my voice made the one note samba look tuneful

it was a hugely pretentious affair but so fucking what?

i wanted to make a sad but triumphant album

i wanted seance to be a gambit

i knew that somewhere some people in the future would totally dig it

i knew it would probably not do that well at the time of its release

for one glorious week it entered the charts at 13 in australia before falling like lead

in england it managed to go in for one week at 42

its incredible to think it was 35 years ago that we did this record and that people still like it

if you have listened to seance recently please give it a review in the comments

(if you’d care to)

yeah seance 

as one  nasty review said:

close but no sugar lamp





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