The Teardrop Explodes

BBC in Concert

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This disc was scheduled for release in 1995 (it even had a catalog number), but then was mysteriously shelved at the last minute. Evidently, a few copies did leak out and are the assumed source of the many high-quality bootlegs of this show. It's too bad it didn't see wider release, for it's an essential addition to the Teardrop Explodes' mere two-album legacy. But across those two albums the band forged a radically unique neo-psychedelic sound that was equal parts Forever Changes-period Love, Echo & the Bunnymen, and Scott Walker. This set list from June of 1981 was a good mix of material from Kilimanjaro and the as-yet-unreleased Wilder. The U.K. hits "Reward" and "Treason" sound very similar to their album counterparts at this show, except they are played just a bit faster. The real bonus is a haunting version of "Suffocate," which rarely made it onto the band's U.S. releases, and "Screaming Secrets," a completely lost track. The previews of "The Culture Bunker" and "The Great Dominions" are also quite different -- the former is much longer with a jam at the end and the latter is dominated by piano, not keyboards. In the space of a year, the band would go from the high of this concert (and a surprising edge over Duran Duran in coverage in British teen mags) to a chaotic dissolution. Julian Cope went on to have a storied solo career, continuing with the same spirit of experimentation the band specialized in. The Teardrop Explodes are long overdue for the box-set treatment, but tensions between the former members make such a thing doubtful. Instead, try to find this show as a nice alternative to their studio albums.

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