A live recording in Japan from 1985, where Durutti and Reilly had built up a considerable reputation and fan base, Domo Arigato is a well-recorded and performed treat, showing the then-current lineup performing songs old and new for an appreciative audience. At this point, Reilly and Mitchell performed with trumpeter Tim Kellet and violist John Metcalfe, who were able to help replicate more recent, classically inspired songs and to reinterpret earlier material as well with skill and style, along with throwing in a completely new song or two along the way. Starting with the first Durutti track ever, Return's "Sketch for Summer," prefaced by as low-key an introduction from Reilly as anyone could ever deliver, Domo Arigato brings the group's studio work to exquisite life. Hearing Mitchell's percussion work in addition to some gentle drum machine pacing, rather than the straightforward rhythm box of the original, makes for wonderful listening, while Reilly's guitar work is unsurprisingly excellent. Immediately followed up with a triumphant, slightly extended version of LC's "Sketch for Dawn" that hits a polite but effective dance groove and last charging solo toward its end, it makes for a wonderful one-two punch. Without Mercy appears via selections from that lengthy work, including the separate Say What You Mean reduction "A Little Mercy" and "Mercy Dance," which takes the distinctly funky part of the composition and turns it into a quick, fun jam. Kellet and Metcalfe do a fine job interpreting the fuller arrangements and performances from that album onto their respective instruments, unavoidably losing some of the variation but none of the attractive complexity. If a sole highlight had to be picked, the performance of the Ian Curtis tribute "The Missing Boy" would likely have to be it, building on the fragile energy and wistful remembrance from the original in spades to result in a powerful interpretation, Reilly's singing echoed from a far depth. The 1998 reissue includes three studio works recorded around the same time, starting with the fine L.A. tribute "Our Lady of the Angels," partially recorded in the city itself. Equally intriguing is the group's first recorded cover version, the Jefferson Airplane classic "White Rabbit," with guest vocals from Debi Diamond.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett