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KILLING JOKE The Peel Sessions 79-81 EMI (2008)

Killing Joke

Mixing rock, new wave and punk, Killing Joke had more than a cult following in their early days, such that they have reformed more than once. These early live sessions are a gem and is the kind of thing that should be unearthed more often.

The opening 4 tracks, from October 1979, were perfectly styled for the time; the first wave of punk was dying, the NWoBHM was coming into life and New Wave pop was just around the corner. Opening track "Psyche" features a driving and catchy fuzzy bass line and Jaz Coleman's mad vocals fitting in very well. In "Wardance" there's some period Hawkwind in the vocals (think PXR5 fuzzed up and fed back) mixed with a tribal rhythm and a melody that would have influenced the new romantic movement of a year or two later. "Nuclear Boy" is suitably off the wall too.

The March 1980 kicks off with "Change", and there's "Tomorrow's World" and "Complication" too.

A further seven tracks across two sessions in 1981 are also included, with many tracks rawer and more honest than the album versions, and some tracks predate the albums too.

As a bonus there's three tracks from a 1981 Richard Skinner session too.

It's a strange mix of rock and new wave, and the fuzz sound is high, almost over relied upon, but there's some decent music here along the way. A well annotated and long overdue set. Essential for fans and the casual listener could to worse than to check this out.


Review by Joe Geesin

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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