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Pere Ubu - Lady From Shanghai

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 27 / 2 / 2013

Pere Ubu - Lady From Shanghai
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Complex, but compelling fourteenth album from Cleveland avant-garde rockers, Pere Ubu

Pere Ubu formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1975. Since releasing their debut album, ‘The Modern Dance’ in 1978, the band's music has always been hard to describe, but has been based in an underground rock style vibe and never moved into a commercial sound. Their new album, their fourteenth, ‘The Lady From Shanghai’, remains true to the band's roots. ‘Thanks’ opens the album, and has a disco-style electronic beat. David Thomas’s vocals wobble over the track in an early P.I.L. style manner and have an almost child-like delivery. The track surprisingly also recalls the 1979 Anita Ward disco classic, ‘Ring My Bell’. ‘Free White’ owes more to the avant-garde in sound, and sounds like a punky Talking Heads. ‘Feuksley Ma'am, the Hearing’ has its base in post-punk, and drives along like a muddy film soundtrack of weird beats. Hitting our ears in an odd-like fashion, it also goes on way too long. ‘Mandy’ has a narrative style, while its music has its heart in post punk. ‘And Then Nothing Happened’ is abrasive, wacky beat poetry, and as if prog rock came out during the post punk era. It goes off into unknown territory as if it is soundtracking a David Lynch film. ‘Musicians are Scum’ sounds like a late 1970’s guitar band number, and, while it is very punky and avant-garde, Thomas’s vocals on it are poetic in their delivery. ‘Another One (Oh, Maybellene)’ is very oddball, almost like a mid-70’s Krautrock number, and, with its slow vocal, it manages to sound lazy but also clever at the same time. ‘The Road Trip of Bipasha Ahmed’ is a jazzy pop number, with a vocal that drips out and sounds as if it is being sung by a sore throat. ‘Lampshade Man’ is like a taut Mission of Burma number, while ‘414 Seconds’ sounds again like Talking Heads. ‘The Carpenter Sun’ ends the album, Very much the sort of record that John Peel would have played on his radio show, it is oddball late night listening, and, with its 1930’s style vocal, like ‘Revolution 9’ from ‘The White Album’ re-recorded for the post-punk generation. An excellent album.

Track Listing:-
1 Thanks
2 Free White
3 Feuksley Ma'am, The Hearing
4 Mandy
5 And Then Nothing Happened
6 Musicians Are Scum
7 Another One (Oh Maybellene)
8 The Road Trip of Bipasha Ahmed
9 Lampshade Man
10 414 Seconds
11 The Carpenter Sun

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