David J

On Glass: The Singles

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It seemed that from 1983 to 1985 David J just couldn't stop recording: two solo albums, two albums performing with the Jazz Butcher, and enough singles and side projects to warrant the creation of this, a collection of those latter tracks. Drawn from five separate EPs released on the Glass label -- thus the title -- plus an extra cut or two to round things out, On Glass is a good and often great example of David J's talents. Showing a range and ability that sometimes wasn't apparent during Bauhaus (and would not always be apparent in Love and Rockets), he works here with a variety of regular collaborators, including the Jazz Butcher himself and partners in crime Max Eider and Alex Green. Even Kevin Haskins sits in on drums here and there during time off from Tones on Tail. It all kicks off with one of his best, wittiest numbers, "The Promised Land," a quick, sax-touched romp with a sharp, smoothly performed lyric about the annoyances and idiocies encountered in show business via his Bauhaus experiences. It also surfaces in a revamped, quieter take as "A Seducer, a Doctor, a Card You Cannot Trust." Other excellent examples of his work include the throbbing drama of "I Can't Shake This Shadow of Fear" and magnificent takes on John Cale's "Ship of Fools" and Clock DVA's "4 Hours." Most intriguing of all are the tracks done in collaboration with noted comic author and longtime friend/collaborator Alan Moore. Released on the V for Vendetta EP, sharing its title with Moore's dark anti-Thatcher series, its main song, the piano and vocals "This Vicious Cabaret," also appeared in the comic book itself during one key sequence, while the instrumental pieces complement the oppressive mood of the series very well. Cleopatra's re-release of the material years later added another Cale cover -- "Fear Is a Man's Best Friend" -- and the original album version of "Crocodile Tears and the Velvet Cosh."

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