Differing Views

Random Hold

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Differing Views Review

by Dave Thompson

This is it, the end of the road, the last gasp of a once-great band, as it is ripped to shreds by the sheer stupidity of record company politics. Of course the original Random Hold had disintegrated by this time, returning home from a U.S. tour in tatters. But mainstays David Ferguson and Pete Phipps were still on board, together with ex-Masterswitch mastermind Steve Wilkin, bassist Martyn Swain, and vocalist Sue Raven, and when 1982 brought Burn the Buildings, it was clear that the group's original vision was still intact and intense. Soaring and dramatic, percussive and precocious, it was an album for bruising the dancefloor, with fractured rhythms that shoot out at tangents to take your nerve-endings into wholly unexpected vistas of movement -- and the label hated it. The band broke up at the company's insistence; then it was Ferguson and Raven alone who recorded a version of "Dancing in the Street," and that could have been a big hit. But it wasn't, and label-less, Ferguson alone carried on, with a random hoard of accompanying friends and a series of demos that put one in mind of nothing so much as early Simple Minds, if they'd been a lot more sinister than they were. But Ferguson was still ignored, so it's a very sad story, told through some uplifting music, and the 33 tracks that it takes to tell remind us just what a revolutionary vision this band served up. Don't let it pass you by a second time.