REDUX: Record Review – Yello – She’s Got A Gun

blast-from-the-past-header

September 4, 2012

Do It Records | UK | 12″ | 1982 | DUNIT 18

Yello: She’s Got A Gun UK 12″ [1982]

  1. She’s Got A Gun
  2. The Evening’s Young
  3. There Is No Reason

I was a fairly early convert to the music of Switzerland’s Yello. I was listening to WUSF-FM’s Friday night New Wave program and they chanced to play the Ralph 7″ of Yello’s “Bimbo” single and it grabbed me right by the collar and it shook those metaphoric lapels, but hard. I immediately began buying their wondrously strange, often cinematic music. I first came across the Ralph LP of “Claro Que Sí” and didn’t look back as I snatched up anything in my path. By 1983, the band caught the attention of WEA in the UK and Elektra in the States, and they made the leap from territorial indies to the majors. But until that point, the band’s releases were all over the map on smaller labels. This is one such release.

“She’s Got A Gun” was a gloriously noir-esque excursion from the band’s second album, “Claro Que Sí.” The evocative music dates from the band’s time as a three piece, with Dieter Meier handling vocals and lyrics, Boris Blank on synths, with the band’s personal Eno being Carlos Peron, who provided tapes and effects. Peron left the group in 1983, and the band’s sound changed; moving closer to the mainstream, but I imagine once Blank acquired a Fairlight, they all saw the writing on the wall. For the time of this single, the sound was still largely analog and thrilling.

Yello’s secret weapon has always been guitarist Chico Hablas, who add a dollop of smooth sustain to the proceedings here.  The Continental sounds of accordion fit well amid the wooshing analog synths and Peron’s sound FX make even a traditionally wonderful Yello video something of a redundancy; the song itself already is a video. The whistling hook will stick with you like glue, once heard. Through it all, Dieter Meier convincingly paints a picture of erotic obsession with the song’s titular dark heroine. He sounded like he could teach Bryan Ferry a thing or two about suavity. Surprisingly, this wonderful song was only a single in the UK territories as released here by the Do It Records label. The label enlisted Jim Cherry, who also did the cover art for the “Claro Que Sí” album, to whip out the Dr. PH Martin’s dyes for the cover here.

The single’s B-side first features “The Evening’s Young,” which was given a video treatment, though it seems to have been a released single in exactly zero territories. Dieter Meier is almost rapping as he details the sameness and tedium of the subject’s predicament. The grinding synths drive home the hopelessness of the protagonists’ plight. I especially love the middle eight where Hablas’ incongruously riff rocking guitar gets pounded back down in the mix by the relentless synths.

The final B-side is the reason why I popped for this single, since it was the only of the two tracks not on “Claro Que Sí.” “There Is No Reason” is possibly the finest Yello B-side I’ve ever heard, and one of my favorite songs ever by the band. This was a song that the band wrote for the soundtrack to Dieter Meier’s film “Jetzt Und Alles” [“Take It All” – 1981]. While the song on the soundtrack features the band with actor Richy Müeller singing, on this record it’s just Yello.

The early rhythm box chugs away while Meier creates a scenario of a band giving a show where they invite a person from the audience to “get up on stage and show us what he’s made of,” echoing the scene in the film where the song takes place. This reminds me of what Meier termed “action singing” where he fronted for bands and improvised lyrics without pre-planning in his younger days. This gives the song a thrilling edge where the listener gets the idea that anything could happen, but that was a hallmark of Yello, and a large part of what made their music so appealing. Shockingly, this track has never made it to digital, even when the DLX RMs of Yello’s catalog surfaced in 2005.

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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6 Responses to REDUX: Record Review – Yello – She’s Got A Gun

  1. Omar says:

    My Yello collection is very brief. I have all the remastered albums (2005) as well as their most recent Touch Yello (2008) cd. Other than that i think i may have the cd single for Of course I’m Lying somewhere. I thought that the 2005 remasters sounded excellent put mediocre in their bonus track selection. several key 12″ singles were left out. Maybe Blank & Jones should do Yello next for their so80s series. She’s Got A Gun was a definite favorite of mine. Loved the artwork. It reminds me of something out of a Batman comic scene.

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  2. “There is no reason” is also one of my personal fave Yello tracks, and believe me picking one favourite is a daunting task! I must admit however that whenever I hear “Oh Yeah” I get hungry for a Twix (and a re-watching of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Damn you, Pavlov!!

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  3. omar says:

    My favorite Yello track was the awesome Rhythm Divine. Both long versions, one with Shirley Bassey and the other with Billy Mackenzie were great!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Omar – I still need the UK ltd. 12″ of the MacKenzie version! The Ger. CD5 of the Bassey single has been in the Record Cell for decades. Memo to self: buy the MacKenzie version from Discogs.com soon!

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