Dexys Midnight Runners, “Geno”, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, 1980
Kevin Rowland is a master of the untimely. The recent Dexys album is a reminder this particular point, and it was thus the case in the band’s beginnings thirty years ago, who debuted with a tribute to American-British R&B figure Geno Washington. Dexys was resolutely not proceeding on a ska trajectory, though the ska pysch-out is a lovely touch on this rock steady number.
With the band releasing their first record in over a decade, an effort entitled Tarnished Gold (Sub Pop), it’s worth celebrating the release with a song that they recorded in their early days. It’s one that, when I first heard it at the Smell when it was in North Hollywood years and years ago, portended amazing music to come.
Strictly Ballroom, “Elevator Action”, Hide Here Forever, Waxploitation Records, 1996-8. The seven inch that premiered this particular song a couple of years before this version is somewhere in the drawer under the turntable.
Christie Front Drive, “Fin”, Stereo, Caulfield Records, 1998
The release of CFD’s last record—a year after the band had broken up—has a particular resonance for us here at tirado/thrown. First listening to the record in the touring van of some fellows we befriended in college was something of a melancholy occasion, because we were all under the impression that the band wasn’t going to get together anytime soon. It was like hearing faint messages of possibilities that merely flickered past but hardly realized themselves. So hearing a song called “Fin” was enough to sense that the song, the album even, was a premature yet somewhat ominous goodbye.
Fast-forward almost fourteen years.
To hear that CFD will be playing the Noise Pop Fest in San Francisco next February comes as fantastic news, if only because it partially satisfies a desire to see a band that stopped performing too soon.
There’s a minor symmetry at work between a band who announced their end with a song whose title designates an end, only to return years later on the one hand, and on the other, an old year announcing its end and the entry of a new—if somewhat uncertain—cycle around the sun. “Fin” is enough to offer some consolation as 2011 comes to an end.
So, I could have sworn I heard Richard Butler sing “I follow where my line goes…”, which would be much more fascinating and far less rationalistic than, “I follow where my mind goes…”. Creative misinterpretation aside, it’s a brilliant, and much needed track at this particular point.