Pauline Murray + The Invisible Girls: Mr. X UK 7″ 
- Mr. X
- Two Shots
Pauline Murray has barely been on my radar for the last 30+ years. I had a single track by her punk band, Penetration, on an eccentric Virgin 10″ sampler that didn’t impress. That was all that I’d ever heard from Ms. Murray until a parcel from my friend Ron arrived last week with the Invisible Girls single. In a feat not likely to be repeated this year, I tried to listen to the disc as soon as possible. I expected it be marvelous; The Invisible Girls were the nom-du-musique of Martin [Factory] Hannett and Vini [Durutti Column] Reilley.
And it is! Ms. Murray has left punk behind for Post-Punk and her haunting vocals dominate the excellent A-side in spite of the A-list musical talent on display here. Vocally, it has a bit of the enigmatic, haunting quality that made Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” so appealing back in the day. The music bed has a vague underwater sound, with dubby percussion and vacillating synths adding mystery to the grounding basslines and percussion. The rhythm box is heavily slathered in reverb, but this is Martin Hannett writing, playing, and producing. Would you expect otherwise?
The B-side, “Two Shots,” is a late night noir piano ballad with the player on the far end of the huge loft in the background. There’s plenty of room for the music to echo off of the bare walls. Stuttering rhythm box is the only other accompaniment to the bass and piano. Imagine early Cure going jazz years before “Lovecats.” But the vibe here is foreboding; nothing like the cheerful Cure track.
Well, scoring a copy of the 1980 “Untitled” album by Pauline Murray + The Invisible Girls is now something of a hot-button issue in the old Record Cell. Unfortunately, the CD issues of this title [1993 – UK, 1995 – US] are seriously OOP and co$tly. I may have to remaster from a more affordable LP copy. If there are other cuts up to the caliber of “Mr. X,” it will be well worth it! This is almost as profound a delayed time bomb as it was to finally hear The Associates in 1990.
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