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30 July 2013

Essential Logic - 'Beat Rhythm News - Waddle Ya Play ?' (Rough Trade)

It's easily been a decade since I last listened to this, so it's like hearing it for the first time. Essential Logic is built around Lora Logic, the saxophonist in X-Ray Spex, who comes to the forefront here as songwriter and lead vocalist. It's much less herky-jerky than I remember it being. I daresay this is closer to pop music than anything radical or abrasive, though with weird punk girl vocals (not really a million miles away from Cyndi Lauper) and brassy jazz bits. But was 'punk', in the UK at least, ever supposed to be more than a new form of pop? Logic's songwriting is strong, which I've always overlooked about Essential Logic before. This isn't the verbal territory of 'O Bondage, Up Yours!', but one of more abstract, poetic observations (which is possibly why she clicked so well with Mayo Thompson). The catchiest tune is 'Wake up', which for some reason doesn't have lyrics printed, but it's a perfect guitar hook that moves quickly beyond any trappings of it's milieu. 'Shabby Abbott' does critique organised religion but it's not so obvious, instead built around domestic awareness. Logic is a saxophonist so that's featured on every song, with additional sax by Dave Wright, arranging songs like 'World Friction' into thick, big-band style interplay with a slightly discordant lean. 'Albert Albert Albert' is about as challenging as it gets, with some Sonic Youth chord cadences and some really distinct song structures; closer 'Popcorn Boy' descends into a marching band chant for the album's final moments, and it's an accomplishment, as is the album as a whole. Shit, this is a really great record, and it feels somewhat underrated now (as it's been a decade since all this stuff got reissued and hyped up). Let's keep it in our consciousness. I'm curious about finding a copy of Logic's solo LP, Pedigree Charm -- maybe by the time I reach the L's, I will have found one.

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