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Date: Wed, 19 Apr 1995 16:00:33 +0100 (BST)
From: Michael Whitworth <els043[at]>
Subject: illuminate: a confession.

Confession time. Moment of smug superiority time. I went to my local
record shop four weeks ago to collect Sixteen Years and they very
charmingly *gave* me a promo copy of the album: I've been listening to it
more-or-less continuously since then. The good news is that I'm not
sick of it yet. In fact it's something of a grower. The vocal tunes
aren't always as strong as on the earlier albums, so I remember the songs
in the same way I remember Blue Aeroplanes stuff: not humming complete
songs, but remembering individual lines and striking phrases. The
production is excellent, far better than Waiting for the Love Bus, and
possibly the best sounding ever. There are extraordinary textures of
sound: not just the bleepy synths, but all sorts of discordant
saxophones, reverbing pianos, dirty blues guitars set against clear
sparkling guitars, hungarian stockwhips and lord knows what else.

"Sumo" - sounds like filler on the single, true, but actually works
brilliantly on the album: it *needs* a moment of pause and calm at that
point, and "Sumo" provides it perfectly. Even if it is nonsense.

"Truck of Fear" seemed like it might be amusing only for a short period of
time, but the images are so vivid that it sticks. One for the car
stereo. Other current favorites: "When Eno Sings", particularly the end
section; "The Ugliest Song in the World" (but what on earth does he say
in the first few lines?); "Blues for Dead Dean Read" - again, the
textures of the music are amazing.

"Land" I dislike, or I'm confused by. Is he taking the piss? Also the
idea of a land without people reminds me of the opinions D.H. Lawrence's
more misanthropic protagonists. And I don't like the bit about the
pterodactyls: they don't sound brilliant at all.

"Lulu's nightmare" starts brilliantly, hilariously; the tune gets stuck in
a rut during the "chicken smoking ganja" bit, but it picks up by the end.
A lot of the songs feel this way: brilliant moments interspersed with
moments where they seem to lose direction. It's probably not an album to
win any converts - I feel if I played it to non-JBC fans I'd have to
aplogise for what they'd perceive to be 'whackiness' - but it'll make more
sense to people who've been listening to Pat for a few years.

Sorry to ramble on, but I've been waiting for weeks.

* Happy listening,

* Michael.

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