Record Review: It’s Immaterial Album Shimmers After Almost 30 Years Tucked Away In A Closet [part 1]

jarvis whitehead and john campbell

L-R: Jarvis Whitehead + John Campbell of It’s Immaterial

At the very least, It’s Immaterial can be said to have a public profile that comes with having a top 20 British single in the quixotic “Driving Away From Home.” That song was a  high point of the bathetic and gauche mid-80s; it was utterly beholden to no one but itself and was a breath of fresh air for all of us to revel in. However briefly. Alas, the loving public were easy to lose interest in such an idiosyncratic pleasure; preferring novel spectacles of dubious merit to such gentle probing into what makes us human.

Their second album, “Song,” was barely released out into the wilds in 1990. Without the catalogs I relied on, I would not have gotten a copy. The band had worked closely with producer Callum Malcolm on that album at his Castlesound studios, so there was a lot of imperial period Blue Nile [of which Malcolm was certainly an architect of] in the album’s DNA. Of all of the other bands trying for that achingly beautiful and paradoxical “intimate grandeur” in their waxings, only It’s Immaterial came close to that goal with the breathtaking spaciousness of The Blue Nile, but in service to their much more intimate and almost conversational music. The band had gamely begun a third album in 1992, but the collapse of their label among other things, led to the tapes being tabled.

<insert 20+ year gap…>

It was on the old OMD forum back in 2012 [or 2014?] that some fans had posted that It’s Immaterial had been posting a few songs on Soundcloud. I expressed interest but grabbing files off of the internet, even when offered by the musicians, is nothing I have much interest in doing, so I quite frankly forgot about it. Then the band re-emerged on Pledge Music in 2016 with a campaign for “House For Sale,” their third album at last.

<insert 4 year gap…>

Of course, the collapse of Pledge Music meant that many projects like that one were left high and dry. I heard nothing about the particulars, but apparently half of their funding had disappeared; making them one of the luckier acts, from what I’ve read! What I had no idea of at the time, was that there was a second crowd-sourcing appeal that I had heard nothing of [maybe it was on FaceBoot – that would explain why]. This was also successful, and at a certain point I was contacted directly by the band telling me that as a pledger, I would soon have a copy once it was replicated and sent. Needless to say, I was astounded at this news from the blue! I’d heard nothing since I had pledged, four years earlier. I replied to Mr. Campbell that I’d be happy to pay again for the album but he assured me that it was indeed paid for and no further action was needed. I was astonished by this level of commitment by the artist to their pledge equally, to their fans. It’s a rare thing in this fallen world to see such integrity to a commitment. So now we have it and have been listening to it for a few days now. What’s it like? Well, we’ve run out of time today, so join us on the next day’s posting.

Next: …A Beautiful Wormhole



About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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5 Responses to Record Review: It’s Immaterial Album Shimmers After Almost 30 Years Tucked Away In A Closet [part 1]

  1. Simon) says:

    Yes there was a second ‘whip round’ for another £25, I think I received an email. My brother pledged for a handwritten lyric sheet as well, he still hasn’t had his cd though!


  2. You big tease!

    I have also secured my copy of the “new” album but alas have not had time to listen to it yet — and this weekend (as ever) is committed to working on my tech-news podcast, Space Javelin (.com). While I don’t think I have a copy of Song either, I think I did at one time hear the album and liked it, being enamoured of The Blue Nile at the time as well. Looking forward as always to your take!


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