Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Because we have always been very keen on the outsider sound of Pere Ubu (and have interviewed their mainman David Thomas a couple of times, here and here), just four years ago we wrote at length about their vinyl box set Drive, He Said 1994-2002 – the third in a reissue series -- which included the albums Raygun Suitcase, Pennsylvania, St Arkansas and a collection of jams and so on as Back Roads.
Now Pennsylvania (1998) and St Arkansas ('02) reappear as stand-alone remixed vinyl albums.
So let us simply refer you to what we said back then about these two albums . . .
Pennsylvania – the name is worth thinking about – offers a grand and sometimes throttling sweep of America, and at this time Thomas quit his homeland for England (where he still lives).
Thomas sings less – speak-sing had become his forte, like Lou Reed – and Wheeler's theremin and keyboards add an otherworld feel here (Indiangiver at less than a minute).
One of those cases where distance lends disenchantment to the view, but with a pop consciousness you understand (Joke! Although Monday Morning is on my dyspeptic hit-parade).
St Arkansas continues Thomas and his fellow travellers' outsider view/sound but in many ways adds little to all that had come before . . . but by this time there had been almost three decades of gauntlet-throwing (and their bewilderment that only such a selective audience had picked it up).
Doom, gloom, satire, misanthropic humour (check the Talking Head-gone-acerbic Slow Walking Daddy on St Arkansas), dysfunctional pop and having Eraserhead competing with Shindig on your viewing preferences probably makes your references more interesting . . . but somewhat limits your audience.
You can hear Pere Ubu's music at Spotify here.
The limited edition remixed and remastered vinyl versions of these albums are available from Fire Records.