November Group

Persistent Memories

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In the driving "I Live Alone," Ann Prim's machine-gun vocal echoes a monotone Greta Garbo by way of Marlene Dietrich. The band had a powerful presence live in concert, and lots of angst that gets subdued when translated to vinyl in a studio. Good production work by Ann Prim and A. Kirby, who goes by the name of Kearney Kirby, became the trademark of these warriors. Everything is so serious with November Group -- "Night Architecture" sounds and feels contrived, but that doesn't take away from its beauty. Whether Prim and Kirby were doing this as a calculated business move (which MCA recording artist the Rings appeared to be doing before them) or if these songs emerged because it was their art at the time, isn't the point. For what it is, it is very good. Where an instrumental version of "Put Your Back to It" might have been fun, actually putting an instrumental like "Night Architecture" on a disc is a bit redundant. All this techno rock seems to work well sans vocals on the dancefloor anyway -- and the voice takes so long to kick in on "Heart of a Champion" that side two is very much like one long dance mix. "Heart of a Champion" is excellent, though it shows the group's limitations; of all their material it sounds the most dated. This is Devo in a very serious light. "Heart of a Champion" is "Whip It" with a longer chorus. It is the first track, "Put Your Back to It," which is the hit. This is the original long version of a song they would re-record for their A&M Records disc, Work That Dream. Don Foote on vocals and bass, and Alvan Long, the drummer who appeared on the first November Group EP, left for their own group shortly after this. Although not very original, these are good sounds worth finding and dancing to again.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:44
2 4:00

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:54
2 5:24
blue highlight denotes track pick