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Suicide - Profile

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 7 / 1 / 2005

Suicide - Profile


New York punk duo Suicide have just had their third and fourth albums, 'A Way of Life' and 'Why Be Blue' remastered and released with special live recordings. Anthony Strutt examines and looks at both

Suicide are Alan Vega on vocals and Martin Rev on broken down, farisa organ. They also use a 30 dollar drum machine. The new York duo have been a musical unit since '71, but were the last of the CGBG's crowd to sign a record deal. A Way of Life/Live London Town and Country Club 13.12.87 'A Way of Life' is a remaster of their third album. It was originally released back in "88 and then mostly ignored. It is not a bad record but it is just a bit too much the same throughout for my ears. The album kicks off with 'Wild in Blue', which sound like recent era Primal Scream, whom Suicide have been a massive on.The track is slow and dirty with very dominant drum beats. When Vega's vocal are used they sound like a howl, but this later turns into something of beauty. 'Surrender',is quite poppy, and sounds very early 80's in a new romantic OMD kind of way. 'Juke Box Baby 96' is rockabilly electronica with a Gene Vincent/Elvis style vocal, and is very repetitive but also very amusing. 'Rain of Ruin,' has a Paint It Black style intro. It is followed with a trance like groove which, while again very repetitive, works well. 'Sufferin' in Vain' has a slow groove while Vega's crooning vocals recall Julian Cope. 'Dominic Christ' has a shouted vocal over a slow burner of a groove, while 'Love so Lovely' again recalls Primal Scream now and also sounds like the Stooges but as if they have dropped their guitars for keyboards. 'Devastation', is probably the best song here, groovey, well delivered and nicely sung. The album ends with 'Heat Beat', a fine song with a dark heart. This remastering comes with a previously unreleased live album of a performance at London's Town and Country Club on the 13th December 1987. This live album opens up with 'Dominic Christ', which has a war drum machine pattern. The audience is just about audioable. The keyboards sound hypnotic, and Vega's vocals sounds like a lazy Mark E Smith singing rockabilly. 'Johnny' is very repetitive with a rockabilly Elvis style vocal. 'Cheree' sounds like the Cramps' fronted by Elvis. 'Juke Box Baby 96' has more of a groove to it, and Vega sounds like Julian Cope flipping out on LSD. 'Girl' is a love song to the band's girlfriends. It is very dark and groovey, something like a trancy doo wop style Elvis. 'I Surrender' is another rockabilly number while the live album ends with 'Harlem' which sounds like Sigue, Sigue Sputnik. Why Be Blue?/ Live at Le Palace, Paris 17.4.89. 'Why Be Blue?' is a remastering of Suicide's fourth studio album of 1992. The album opens up with the title track track, which recalls the Tom Tom club with its lively beats, while Vega's lazy-sounding vocals are reminiscent of Bernard Sumner and Mark E. Smith. 'Cheat, Cheat' is gothic int one and with its doomy sound could have been by either the Sisters of Mercy or Siouxsie and the Banshees. 'Mujo' is again goth flavoured and has big beats but Vega's vocals sound something like those of Billy Idol. 'Pump It' is fast paced but restrained in a laid back,couldnt-give-a damn fashion. 'Last Time' is in a similar style to the previous track but has a clearer vocal. 'Play the Dream' is very New Order like and is very dancey in a club sort of way. 'Chewy, Chewy' is much more experimental with an ad libbed vocal, while 'Hot Ticket' is laid back and cool and sounds like early Prodigy. 'Flashy Love' feels and sounds very poppish, a bit like very commercial Iggy Pop. It ends with 'Universe' which is mellow and has a soft dance manner. The live album that assists this is a much sought after item amongst Suicide completelists, as most of the songs on this recording never made it to studio recordings. The audience is much more rowdy than on the previous album. 'C'est La Vie' opens the performance and features some excellent vocals from Vega but its does sound like a live cassette recording as you can hear audience members chatting on it. 'Johnny' is very fast and punky but also sounds very 50's in an All Shook Up kind ofway. 'Mambo, Mambo', one of the new songs here,is quite disco flavoured, while 'Rock Train' is an ode to Bruce Springsteen and Iggy Pop. 'Juke Box Baby 96' is quite fast and rocking in an electronic Elvis way. 'Dream Baby Dream' is very slow and somewhat doomy, while 'Night Time' is quite groovey in a trendy way but very repetitive. It ends with 'On Fire' which is like a band work out and you can see from this where Bobby Gillespie gets his lazy vocal style from.

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Suicide - Profile

Suicide - Profile

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American Supreme (2002)
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