Howard Devoto

Jerky Versions of the Dream

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Erstwhile Buzzcock and former front man of post-punk outfits Magazine and Luxuria, Howard Devoto has always been somewhat difficult to peg musically. After disbanding Magazine in the early '80s, Devoto went on to pursue a short-lived solo career, resulting in his lone 1983 effort, JERKY VERSIONS OF THE DREAM. More pop-based than any of his previous efforts, the songs all feature Devoto's distinctive croon--a discomfiting mix of seduction and caustic menace. Like his material with Magazine, Devoto's lyrics are peppered with poetic allusions to politics, both personal and social. The slow building heat of "Cold Imagination" comes across like a post-punk quiet storm. Trapped in the deep freeze of his own mind, his anguished voice intones, "Get me out of my cold imagination." Other tracks, like the jaunty "Waiting for a Train," allude humorously to the everyday occurrence of a train delay resulting in an existential crisis. Melding frenetic industrial funk with sardonic lounge piano, the music appropriately matches Devoto's eccentric lyrical musings--offering obtuse but highly original philosophical and social commentary.

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