Those First Impressions: It’s Immaterial Debut Single

The Hit Machine | UK | 7" | 1980 | HIT 001a

It’s Immaterial: Young Man [seeks interesting job] UK 7″ [1980]

  1. Young Man [seeks interesting job]
  2. Doosha [a success story]

I first heard the Liverpudlian band It’s Immaterial when a demo of their track “Washing The Air” was included on the short lived but legendary SFX C-60 UK music magazine back in 1981. I thought the cut sounded exactly like faves OMD at the time; not surprising given their proximity. I kept my eyes peeled but I never ever saw a record by this lot until they signed to Circa Records five years later and unleashed the wonderful “Life’s Hard And Then You Die” to an uncaring world. By that time they had moved far away from the derivative sound that first caught my attention.

I next bought their hard-to-find second album, “Song,” mail order at the time of its release in 1990. Good thing too. It was an import only release that I never saw a copy for sale of. This album found them back in magpie mode. This time they had fallen under the spell of another group I dearly loved; The Blue Nile. They recorded their album with Callum Malcolm, The Blue Nile’s engineer, producing at his legendary Castlesound studio. The end result sounds for all the world like an unreleased Blue Nile album with someone else singing.

It was about five years ago when after listening to both of the extant It’s Immaterial albums and being bowled over by their merits, that I thought that I needed to collect the output of this band with an eye towards making a BSOG®. So I did some research and discovered that the group had knocked around many different local indie labels for a good five years before finally signing with the majors in 1985! There were about half a dozen early singles, so I made it a point to start buying the rarest of these when they became available online, which wasn’t often in the case of this single! I snatched a copy and it’s sat on the racks… until now!

“Young Man [Seeks Interesting Job]” was the band’s debut single on what seems to be their own label. The record was produced by “the four executives” whom were the band, presumably. That would be John Campbell, Jarvis Whitehead, Henry Priestman and one other [nameless]. The sleeve isn’t giving up names and neither is the internet. Campbell and Priestman were both ex-members of The Yachts, who have several fine releases in the Monk’s Record Cell. After a while, Priestman would leave It’s Immaterial to go on to his own band, The Christians, by the time the group had signed to a major.

I enjoyed The Yacht’s singles and have one of their albums, so in a way, I was shocked to see that the first It’s Immaterial single was a cover of an obscure British 60s track by The First Impression. It’s certainly an extroverted little number; worlds away from the quiet, interior focus of what most would recognize as It’s Immaterial. It’s a real vital example of pre-psychedelic beat combo chops. But it’s a bit disconcerting to hear John Campbell sounding like a, a… frontman!

The shock of the A-side is immediately dispelled by the frankly weird B-side which has the feel of a Russian folksong about a young man who emigrates from India to the West and his glorious future. Like the A-side, it sounds like nothing you might associate with It’s Immaterial. More astonishingly, the track sounds like a throwaway joke of some sort. Overall, it hardly seems like an auspicious start to a band that would go on to carve out a unique niche for itself in the Liverpool music scene. They left a brace of non-LP singles, including this one, and two fine albums before disappearing for the last two decades. A third album for Circa was shelved, but earlier this year, Whitehead and Campbell surfaced on Soundcloud with some of the unreleased tracks in addition to many of their rarities. If they’re testing the waters for interest, I think they’ll find that their fans would certainly be ready for more of their quirky, introverted sounds.

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4 Responses to Those First Impressions: It’s Immaterial Debut Single

  1. Echorich says:

    Such a great band!
    As a lifelong NYC’er, I never bothered to get my license. When I was 16 my friends were all spending Saturday’s in drivers ed. I was hanging out in the East Village at Trash and Vaudville or Freebeing Records, or stalking whatever cool Brit band was staying at the Gramercy Park or Iroquois Hotels.
    So when I moved to FL, I had to give in and get my license, and buy a car. Mass transit is less than a joke in Tampa. So of course I had to make a First Time Driving My Own Car playlist. Sure I COULD have started it off with Cars by Numan, or Drive My Car – by Cristina, not The Beatles, but I went for Driviing Away From Home by It’s Immaterial.
    It’s Immaterial is certainly a Liverpool band. Gigantic Raft in the Phillippines is punchy and full of anthemic bravado. You are right about Song. Heaven Knows sounds like it belongs on Blue Nile’s Hats. New Moon, from what would have been the third album also has a Blue Nile-ish feel and is quietly uplifting.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Kudos to you for the right priorities. You got to hang out in Trash + Vaudeville. I only got to see their great ads in Trouser Press! And I see they still exist! All is right with the world! I grew up in Florida and even so I never learned to drive until I was in my mid-20s and earning enough to buy my first car in cash. Ah, heady times. I earn a fraction of that wage now in the Great Bloodletting. But you’re right. Mass transit in Florida, for all purposes, does not exist. There is a Metro in the Miami area, but… it’s in Miami. It’s always a great pleasure when I visit a civilized metropolis like Toronto or even Washington D.C. and take the Metro everywhere.

      And oh yes, weren’t we discussing It’s Immaterial? I’m hopeful that the third album will get an actual release at one point in time. Downloads are so sad. And why not a fourth album, while we’re at it? I’m sure Campbell and Whitehead could do it.

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  2. Echorich says:

    I managed, in my first post, to leave out my impressions of the wonder chrysalis that formed It’s Immaterial – The Yachts!
    POWER POP PUNK!! I’m sure I discovered them on a Stiff Record compilation I picked at my local import record emporium Metro Records in Little Neck, Queens. Both of their albums are toe tapping, head bouncing classics! Yachting Type is a classic of power pop. I remember seeing them at Hurrah’s at the end of ’79 and coming up with some ridiculous excuse for needing to stay over a friend’s house to satisfy my parents (being an “A” student came in handy when you needed to be “trusted”) and actually showing up at class the next day in the same thing I wore to the show because I never went to sleep and found myself roaming around Manhattan with some friends until it was time to get on the subway for school. Ahhh halcyon days….

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Insane! The Yachts actually played dates here? Ah the benefit of being young and in New York! Having been stuck in Boreblando, Florida for my youth was tantamount to never seeing any of the acts I truly cherished. All my favorite acts played NYC, Chicago and LA at a minimum on the 5-7 date “US Tour” glamour circuit. Where I lived it was The Nuge, Molly Hatchett, and Rock Superbowl after Rock Superbowl.

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