Tuesday, 25 February 2014

7 Inch Singles Collection: Dalek I - Freedom Fighters

Dalek I Love You!:


A-side: Freedom Fighters
B-Side: Two Chameleons
(Vertigo 1979)

I suggested in a previous blog entry that Fuzzbox deserve a place in the Boys Own Bumper Book of Brilliant Band Names, if that's the case then Surely Dalek I Love You also needs to be in there too. Their record company shortened it to the less great Dalek I for their initial releases, but I still think of them as Dalek I Love You. 

I first encountered this group when I found a cassette version of their second album cheap in Woolworths. I would like to tell you that it was my hip and happening music sense that drew me to this band - knowing that they were tangentially involved with The Teardrop Explodes. I'd, of course, be lying if I did try to make you believe that. It's a band with the word Dalek in the title - I'm a Doctor Who fan, and have been for a long, long time (this could have been a Doctor Who blog - and maybe will be when I'm all done with my records!) It was a pleasant surprise when that Dalek I Love You album turned out to be quite good, and so I snapped up some of their earlier singles when I found them in second-hand record shops.

Freedom Fighters was their first single. It's a kind of post-punk agit-pop effort with synths as well as guitars in the mix. It has the punk-funk feel of Then Gang Of Four (I know me comparing a band you've never heard of to one you've probably never heard of is possibly a futile exercise - but it's done now). The thing that stands out on this record is the spikeyness of the tune punctuated by staccato guitars, there's a kind of bloody-mindedness to to some of the groups of his time - in that they're using synths, but they make music that is impossible to dance to. Freedom Fighters is a pretty minimalist effort, with an anti-fascist political bent. I've got written down in my notes that it's a song for people not politics I'm not sure what I meant by that, other than maybe the politics of the record is not party politics but more of a general feeling. The other thing that's notable is that Freedom Fighters is quite short and stops very suddenly. 

Two Chameleons on the other side is melodically softer, but with a steady bass pulse, again with the spikey and staccato feel of the a-side. Vocally it reminds me of Elvis Costello. Overall Two Chameleons is more of an impression than a tune, it's not really hummable, and then fades out, without having ever really faded in.

A record then that intrigues rather than entertains, and makes me want to go back and listen to other Dalek I Love records.

Next time a tango that isn't...

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