Record Review: Dalek i Love You [part 2]

[continued from previous post…]

Yesterday we cast an ear towards the original 1983 album. Today, we examine the singles with the bonus tracks that made it onto this DLX RM.

Korova Records | UK | 12″ | 1982 | KOW 25(T)

Dalek i Love You: Holiday In Disneyland UK 12″ [1982]

  1. Holiday In Disneyland
  2. Masks + Licenses
  3. Heaven Was Bought For Me
  4. Holiday In Disneyland [alt. ver.]

The deeply eccentric “Holiday In Disneyland was not perhaps the most commercial pick for a lead single from this album. Especially since Dalek i Love You had moved from obscure UK indie Back Door to Korova; Echo + The Bunnymen’s boutique label as distributed through WEA. The 12” single of said release contained two non-LP B-sides, as well as an alternate version of the A-side as produced in a session with Steven Short. The latter is missing from this disc, but the two B-sides are in place. Thankfully, that insanely brilliant single cover painting is in the booklet to this CD.

“Masks + Licenses” is a boppy slice of clockwork-driven New Wave with organ chords and ringing guitars driving the tune. Alan Gill sang lead to charming effect. It sort of recalls The The’s “This Is The Day” in feel, though less melancholy. “Heaven Was Bought For Me” was a darker, more complex piece that opened with a backwards vocal loop cross faded to forward while crystalline synths and lurching rhythms set the stage for Keith Hartley’s crooning. The coda reversed the vocal loop gambit and fades out from forwards cross faded to backwards. With computers, we could edit the song into an endless loop today.

Korova | UK | 12″ | 1983 | KOW 29T

Dalek i Love You: Ambition UK 12″ [1983]

  1. Ambition [ext. ver.]
  2. I Am Hot Person [ext. ver.]
  3. Would You Still Love Me

The “Ambition” 12″ featured an extended A/B side [!] but only the bonus 12″ only-B-side was accounted for on this CD. I am so up for getting this 12″ since “Ambition” was a very interesting single that, unlike the first single release, sounded like it could make room for itself on the radio. As fascinating as “Holiday In Disneyland” was, it had the whiff of a deep cut, not a single. “I Am Hot Person” also appeared on the 7″ of “Ambition” in a shorter version. “Would You Still Love Me” was a Keith Hartley song with a “sermonette” vibe of long, sustained organ chords over a shuffling, tribal beat that increased in power until at the middle eight it took the song into the jungle.

Korova | UK | 12″ | 1983 | KOW 31T

Dalek i Love You: Horrorscope UK 12″ [1983]

  1. Horrorscope
  2. Heap Big Pow Wow
  3. Horrorscope [inst.]
  4. The Angel + The Clown

The third single was the also infectious “Horrorscope.”There were two non-LP B-sides and an instrumental version, that was also extended from the LP track. “Heap Big Pow Wow” was not included, but the instrumental remix of “Horrorscope” was, and it’s a robust 6:00 long as opposed to the 4:00 album track. Near the halfway mark, the drum track began getting more echoey and complex; almost dubbed. Tasty stuff and I would not have looked askance at a vocal 12″ remix using this backing track, but no one asked me. “The Angel + The Clown” was a fantastic instrumental featuring a very Frippy, sustained modal line on guitar over the gentle technopop backing. It sounded for all the world like a concurrent slice of Bill Nelson solo instrumental very much in the vein of “Conny Buys A Kodak.” Fans of Nelson would absolutely love this track!

Korova | UK | 12″ | 1983 | KOW 31

Dalek i Love You: Horrorscope UK 7″ [1983]

  1. Horrorscope
  2. These Walls We Build

The “Horrorscope” 7″ featured a third non-LP B-side only on that format. “These Walls We Build” was a long, busy, Alan Gill sung number with a cinematic line in synths and booming tribal drums juxtaposed against it all. Finally, the DLX RM contained a dub version of “12 Hours Of Blues” that performed honorable dub magic on the album track. Thankfully, this was rescued from obscurity by Gill on this reissue, but at the cost of B-side material and even the 12″ version of “Ambition.”


I have to admit that after all is said and done, I understand why this CD quickly was selling for three figures in just months after its first release in 2007! This was a superb example of obscure, yet supremely worthy Post-Punk ca 1983. It sounds like the vigorous offspring of Kissing The Pink’s “Naked” and Shriekback during the same era. I especially point to “Kissing The Pink” in that it posits a dynamically eclectic package of material that doesn’t shy from either extreme catchiness nor left-field excursions. In fact, like Kissing The Pink, it frequently lunges at either target at the same time. Fans of “Naked” simply must own this CD. While it lacks a transcendently perfect track as that album’s “Desert Song,” it contains every other trait that brings this album up to the standard of greatness in Post-Punk.

I will admit, that while I had heard of the name Dalek i Love You, back in the day, I had never seen any actual releases by the band until visiting Tower Records in Atlanta in 1990, where I bought the DLX RM CD of “Compass Kum’pas” that I had absolutely no compunction selling off for a healthy three figures in 2007 when in need of extra cash. My only regret was that I lacked further copies to sell, since now it sells for three extremely healthy figures ten years later. But that illuminates the differences in the two very different Dalek i Love You albums for me. The first one, largely Alan Gill and drummer Chris “Merrick” Hughes, played a game that meant little to my ears. Too polite by half, with a twee line in Enoesque whimsey as barely sung by Alan Gill; it deeply failed to convince.

This album roped in the songwriting and production DNA of two other members that contributed exactly the sort of dynamic Post-Punk that I enjoyed the most. Music that resembled “pop” while being largely at odds with pop values. Music where numerous odd ideas were juxtaposed in the service of creating something new and almost startling. I have to say that this album was a powerful experience to finally hear after only becoming aware of it when the first reissue hit the web in 2007. Again, I had never seen this album or its singles in record stores the whole time period from its release until now. But the album in evidence sits comfortably on a rack with other late-in-the-day discoveries like The Associates, who collectively conspire to drive me towards the Monastic Ideal of uncovering the best, and most valuable Post-Punk music that I had missed the first time around. This DLX RM certainly plays that game like the pro that it is. Had I actually paid $100 in 2012 for a copy of this, it would have been worth it.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

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4 Responses to Record Review: Dalek i Love You [part 2]

  1. Richard McKinney says:

    Monk,
    Your remarks concerning this release are exemplary. You,fairly, burst with enthusiasm for a release that dates 34 years. I am in awe of your literary work ethic. all hail the Monk

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Richard McKinney – Welcome to the comments! Well, it was an exemplary release. It is a rare thing to encounter such a perfect album that pushes all of my aesthetic buttons 34 years later, but the hope of this is my musical motivation. I only wish that I could have embedded a Soundcloud player to share more than my enthusiasm with any readers.

      Like

  2. Jim says:

    Yes, an exemplary post but for a few errors – sorry to be a super-nerd about this. The first Album was actually Alan Gill and Dave Hughes – Chris “Merrick” Hughes was the producer. Dave Hughes went on to join OMD & later ‘Godot’ with Keith Hartley. After that he became a movie soundtrack composer – I think you can hear this cinematic bent on a lot of the synth melodies on the first dalek album. Don’t agree BTW with you about compass/kunpass – I think it’s really beautiful, the minimal, shaky, barelythereness is part of its appeal for me. I’m not sure where the song credit info comes from here but Keith Hartley didn’t write Heaven was bought for me or would you still love me. Nor does he sing on them – the first one is sung by kenny peers and the other by gordon Hon. Dalek was one of those bands that shared writing credits equally but many of the songs were written initially by one person (who usually sang them) and then worked on by the whole band. Keith Hartley left the band long before the album was completed (to join Godot with Dave Hughes) and didn’t write any of the songs individually but contributed to a few of them. He is the lead vocalist on Horrorscope for example – although I think Alan Gill basically wrote that song. In fact Gill wrote the majority of the songs on this album (and all on the first one) and basically did all the arranging and much of the musical production. Some songs began as jams that he shaped into songs. There was a general tendency in the post-punk era for a collective attitude to creativity & so song credits could be a divisive issue imposed by the industry which, as we know won out. But, as they say, credit where credit is due!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jim – Welcome to the comments. Please…indulge in pedantry! Keep in mind that these posts are hastily written during my lunch hour. I’m often doing any research while eating my lunch then spending the last 50-60% of the hour typing as fast as I can! I try to get the basics down to give my thoughts about the release a context; particularly on a band like Dalek i Love You, who I had almost no exposure to, other than hearing the name, during the ’80-’85 period.

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