Record Review: November Group – Persistent Memories EP

Brain Eater | US | EP | 1983 | BRAIN 1

Brain Eater | US | EP | 1983 | BRAIN 1

November Group: Persistent Memories US EP [1983]

  1. Put Your Back To It
  2. I Live Alone
  3. Night Architecture
  4. Heart Of A Champion

November Group’s second EP [this time for New York’s Brain Eater label] saw them moving a half step away from the funkier elements of their debut EP to embrace the austere coldness that underpinned that release. Bassist Raphael Gasparello had left the band to make way for Don Foote. Otherwise, this was still Ann Prim and Kearney Kirby’s show with Alvan Long on drums. One of this EPs pleasures was that drums were still played on it! By 1983, it was drum machines omnipresent, but there was still a pleasing blend of electronic and acoustic drums to be found here.

“Put Your Back To It” had a percussive synth hook that would not quit.  It would be revisited on their next EP in 1985, so I guess the A+R person who signed them was really taken by the song.  The near-strident vocals of Ann Prim were honed to a fine edge on this one. She sang here with a strength and conviction that was refreshing to hear from a woman. While I enjoy hard electronic dance rock wherever I can get it, it usually comes with a Y chromasome attached to it. How lovely to have it otherwise on this fine EP.

The drumming and especially the fills on the driving “I Live Alone” were particularly relentless. The title track was the longer cut on side one, but I would not have minded hearing this one at 5:44 with the title relegated to a 4:00 running time. In any case, the cold ending was dynamic as possible, coming on a hi-hat following one of those amazing electric drum fills.

The second side kicked off with the best instrumental that New Order never recorded. “Night Architecture” featured another great percussive synth hook [somewhat reminiscent of the one in The Vapors non-hit “Spiders,” only even better] in the service of the guitar of Ms. Prim who was channeling Bernard Albrecht’s most capably. This was a slower, moodier atmospheric piece that worked like a charm. One can almost imagine it on “Power, Corruption, And Lies” with just a little effort.

The last number was the upbeat “Heart Of A Champion.” Ms. Prim’s steely vocals stayed in their natural comfort zone for this one. The severity she brought to these songs was a far cry from what was expected of women in rock even at this late stage of the game. What I loved best about this band was that these songs were dance rock. By 1983, electropop was all over the map, but the genre was much slighter than the material in evidence here. The digital synths and drum machines were predominating, and bands that were actually a band, like November Group,” were being crowded out of the marketplace by the inexorable march of fashion. When the band next surfaced, it would be on a major label two years later, though their timing could not have been worse.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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2 Responses to Record Review: November Group – Persistent Memories EP

  1. SimonH says:

    Great cover, love Night Architecture as a song title. Was totally unaware of this band in the UK, doubt there’s much chance of a cd reissue sadly.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – When UK synth bands managed a tour of New England, this group were the go-to opening act. Kearney Kirby is still involved in music but Ann Prim is a filmmaker now.


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