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Friday, March 2, 2018

It's Immaterial - Life's Hard And Then You Die

Artist: It's Immaterial
Album: Life's Hard And Then You Die
Year: 1987
Style: Spoken, Roots Rock, Experimental
Similar Bands: James, The Alarm, Borghesia
One Word Review: Discordant Jazz-Theaterical Dreams
Based Out Of: Liverpool, England
Label: A&M, Virgin Records
 Life's Hard And Then You Die - Cover, Record
 Life's Hard And Then You Die - Back, Record
Life's Hard And Then You Die - Notes

Life's Hard and Then You Die
  1. Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune) 4:12
  2. Happy Talk 5:29
  3. Rope 3:37
  4. The Better Idea 5:42
  5. Space 3:59 /
  6. The Sweet Life 4:38
  7. Festival Time 3:52
  8. Ed's Funky Diner 3:05
  9. Hang On Sleepy Town 4:02
  10. Lullaby 6:21
Album Rating (1-10): 5.5

Members & Other Bands:
Dave Bascombe - Producer
Felix Kendall - Engineer
John Campbell - vox (Yachts, La Fiancee)
Jarvis Whitehead - instruments (Branda & the Beachballs)
Dave Bates - Producer
Ross Stapleton - A&R
Jerry Harrison - Keys (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club)
Tarrant Bailey Jr
Roddy Lorimer
Steve Wickham
Brenda Kenny
Henry Prestman
Gillian Miller
Merran Laginestra - Vox
Red Ranch - Art Direction & Design
Charlie Rivel - Clown on Cover
Tansy Spinks - Photographic Treatment Cover
Alastair Thain - Band Photo
Jim Lieber - Harmonica

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band, but from the dark album title, nihilistic name, scratchy clown artwork and general font choices, I'd imagine this is a hardcore, thrash band.

Album Review: “Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune)” is a haunted country landscape tune similar to the Alarm, full of bouncy bass, echoing vocals and harmonica. The vocals are sedately spoken for the verse, and mildly sung for the chorus. The dead- gong jumps out from the background, echoing off in the distance.
“Happy Talk” kicks off with a discordant couple of notes, and quietly, whispers into a rushed, yet muted tempo. It is poetic, like many songs from James albums Laid and Seven, and the vocals are very similar in sound & style to Tim Booth. There is an over all, wind-swept sound to these songs so far. The song is long and meandering, where it can really lose the listener.
“Rope” begins with a skipping synth drum loop, and the Tim Booth style theatrical vocals continue here, supported by piano bursts and a steady bass. The chorus is very dreamy, upbeat and catchy. It slowly transitions into a Celtic jig, thanks to the violin section. A chorus of vocals supports the lead in bold, deep bursts at the end.
“The Better Idea” starts off with a windy background, and slow wood block percussion. It slowly creeks awake, stuttering and going back and forth between singing and beat poetry. It is much more a work on aestetic art than a song
“Space” begins with some mild, repetitive jungle xylophone action, and cold synth. The vocals are like an instruction manual or encyclopedic entry about space. The chorus breaks out into a cold, dark wave song, there is a little Russian Cold wave aspect here.

“The Sweet Life” is another dream-like minimal song, with held, wavering notes, somewhat operatic.  There is a little optimism in the horns at first before they squawk discordantly. The applause at the end give further suggestion of a theatrical
“Festival Time” starts out with a vibe similar to the Ewok celebration at the end of Jedi. Adding in some tribal rhythms, and flutes, but it also has periods of avant guard jazz bursts. And the song fades out with one or two remaining instruments played
“Ed's Funky Diner” has a more straightforward funky melody, a beat-snapping post-apocalyptic dance with horns and a lot of energy, comparatively to the rest of the album.
“Hang On Sleepy Town” has a slow, quiet swaying swagger with acoustic guitar and violin. The vocals glide through, painting a sad, sullen image. The farmhouse instruments slowly grow in urgency.
“Lullaby” begins with twinkling bells, and unexpectedly fast tempo in bass and guitars for a lullaby. The song is actually driving, musically, as the vocals slowly glide overtop. The lyric “It’s a shame” repeats over in the chorus. The piano and bass have an urgent quality to them, although the overall song is not that pressing. The end of the song has actual lullaby lyrics over synth instrumentations that sound like an ominous heart monitor, which paints a sad picture of a prayer for comfort in a hospital room.

Stand Out Track: Rope

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