This CD compiles the complete recorded works of Charles Hayward's overlooked post- This Heat project, Camberwell Now, which released two EPs, Meridian and Greenfingers, and a single album, The Ghost Trade, between 1983 and 1985. Dealing in extended, tragic political songs set to an avant-rock backing, this project certainly maintained shades of his former group This Heat's brilliance. Camberwell Now's recordings are as eclectic and complex in their orchestration, yet have more of a pop simplicity. Peter Hammill, Wire, and Robert Wyatt are all good points of reference for the textured sound. Following groundbreaking work with Quiet Sunand This Heat, the '70s the '80s saw Haward's songs developing in a direction not dissimilar to those of Robert Wyatt of the same early-'80s period. That is, a highly intellectual, experimental rock music that, while it has roots in the avant-garde, it relates directly to the British folk traditional song. Charles Hayward's later solo work started to return to the abstract with Survive the Gesture, Skew-Whiff, and Switch On War. These experimental and improvised albums, plus the posthumous attention This Heat received in the '90s, may have shrouded Charles Hayward's extraordinary songwriting skills, which are displayed here in their most focused and pure form.
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AllMusic Review by Dean McFarlane