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18 June 2009

Area - 'Caution Radiation Area' (Cramps)

The Italian Get Back gang reissued this in a lovely package with super thick vinyl (preserving the original Cramps label) and a heavy cardstock cover that could stop a bullet; plus they were thoughtful enough to include a plastic inner sleeve mounted inside the paper linernotes, so you don't scratch the record like paper does, but it doesn't bunch up like plastic usually does. This second Area record came out in '74 and it's leaps and bounds beyond their first one. It starts with a super fast keyboard/gutar riff that suggests they've stepped up their game, instrumentally, since Arbeit Macht Frei, but then things start to get weirder. 'ZYG' stars with some arrows of synthy white noise fighting with each other, before forcing itself into a rock structure. Ten-minute 'MIRage ? MIRage !' which opens the second side, is a work of utter brilliance. We get a taste of free jazz; a sort-of-drum solo up against someother tape-affected percussion; a thickly layered bit of Stratos (whose first name is now DemeNtrio) whispering, moaning and gasping; and the usual progrock pyrotechnics though minus a bit of , um, whatever that thing is that Yes does that you hear a little bit of in Area's first album. If there's one criticism it's that the piece just feels like a succession of twisted parts rather than a cohesive whole - but thats totally okay if the parts are this mind-melting. The last track, 'Lobotomia', is the most fucked up of all, with shrill toys, delayed chimes, and the feeling of lifting into the sky. Yep, these Eye-talians have found their voice, and maybe they never sounded more on-target. For a band that's on the Nurse With Wound list, you can sure bash your head to it like it's a dumb guilty rock release. This may be the highest synthesis of all of the different strains of brilliance this band was capable of, balanced across one vinyl disc.

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