Album Review: Pere Ubu


Pere Ubu -‘Lady From Shanghai.’ (Fire)

There’s been very few bands like Pere Ubu in history (that I’ve come across), and even fewer who would really try to sound like them. Just like you wouldn’t want people to try and sing Associates songs at Karaoke (I hope you wouldn’t), so the thought of acts trying to follow them is almost uncomfortable.

It’s not one of the band’s more challenging records (I remember a colleague wincing when I made him listen to 1982’s Song Of The Bailing Man; he lasted a song and a half), but what I find so brilliant about this record is that it encapsulates the sheer otherness of the David Thomas and co. and provides a fine entry point into them, if you’ve never heard them before.

And that sound…still a take on the avant-garde meeting blues rock, so a bit Beefheartian, if you’re clutching for something. But the songs are something special, too. There’s a dark mood that’s compelling, like a 1950s B-movie at times, yet never schlocky. And it’s an album that you want to play again and again. Or you should do, if you like your music to take you someplace. ‘Musicians Are Scum’ may sound like a confrontational title-but it somehow sums up so well what PU are about.

Bizarrely, my first introduction to the band, aged eleven, was courtesy of Roland Rat, but that’s a whole other story…


Lady From Shanghai is out now on Fire.

Download ‘Free White’ below

I’m one tired individual right now…

OK, very tired, still off work and about to head to bed.


Figured I’d post a few tracks, the sole theme here being -‘songs everyone should hear.’ The only link with the photo is that the Leaning Tower Of Pisa is somewhere i finally went last month, and I think everyone should go there.

So, first up…a small hit but one of the Pet Shop Boys’ best ever songs:

Pet Shop Boys -‘Being Boring.’ mp3

From their late eighties phase rather than their late seventies phase, but still sublime…

Wire -‘Kidney Bingos.’ mp3

From the best selling Jazz album ever, if I can’t persuade some of you that Jazz can be great, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree…

Miles Davis -‘So What.’ mp3

It starts off with feedback, it has a mental sax bit, it came outta the late seventies…Pere Ubu and a love song (of sorts)

Pere Ubu -‘Non-alighnment Pact.’ mp3

If this doesn’t bring a smile to your face, nothing will. (Though I wonder if They Might Be Giants are responsible for the very annoying band that are Barenaked Ladies.)

They Might Be Giants -‘Birdhouse In Your Soul.’ mp3

As ever, if you like the songs, support the artists involved.

And BTW, this is my 299th post. Will try and do something special for my 300th.