Down Here: Collected Recordings 1983-1985

Crippled Pilgrims

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Down Here: Collected Recordings 1983-1985 Review

by Richie Unterberger

The whole of Crippled Pilgrims' sparse output is collected in one place on this anthology, which contains their 1984 debut six-song EP Head Down-Hand Out; their 1985 album Under Water; and alternate versions of two of the songs from the EP, one of which (the alternate of "People Going Nowhere") appeared on the various-artists compilation Bouncing Babies, the other of which (the alternate of "Black and White") was previously unreleased. While less polished than the album, the EP tracks actually have the edge here, with their rough combinations of post-punk with folk-psychedelic-indebted guitars and melodies. While retaining much of that approach, Under Water seems a little stiffer, less tuneful, and more morose, and though it's a point the band's small following of cultists would argue, there's nothing that has the power of the EP's bittersweet, mood-shifting "A Side He'll Never Show." The two alternate versions are by no means trivial add-ons: the alternate of "People Going Nowhere" has a lighter feel that (again arguably) makes it preferable to the one on the EP, and "Black and White" likewise has a more basic arrangement, though it doesn't compare as favorably to the one used on Head Down-Hand Out. Historical liner notes ably sum up the career of this obscure mid-'80s band.

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