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Title: Pickwicks, Liverpool
Author: Penny Kiley
Source: Melody Maker


Pickwicks, Liverpool

JAYNE Casey’s already enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame, as an originator in the punk avant garde of the Eric’s regime, and now she’s back for more. Recently returned from semi-retirement with a slightly altered band name and an LP as proof of purpose, tonight she’s bringing public substance to the new identity for the first time.

The set’s closing with a compelling song from the LP, “Enjoy The Pain”; “See the look in her eyes”, sings Jayne - but you can’t see the look in her own because shes wearing shades. Though she sings of dark and dangerous corners of human experience she takes care that her emotional privacy remains intact.

In fact, there’s always been something of a mystery about Jayne Casey as a performer not least her capacity to create, throughout her career from Big In Japan through Pink Military to now, the most intriguing - even beautiful - and the most excruciating music almost at the same time.

The live debut of Pink Industry was, consequently, something that demanded the satisfaction of curiosity. The music is the most accessible she’s ever created. She’s changed too, as a performer, and the piercing individualism of the past has given way to a fragile elegance that’s altogether more sophisticated, and more contained.

The voice, tamed from its past excesses, has matured considerably to a more expressive instrument - commanding or compassionate, sometimes harsh, sometimes softer, but always sympathetic to the song.

Jayne sings about women, but in the third person; sings about danger, but keeps her distance. The dark suit and glasses are a barrier, as much a symbol of attitude as the brief playing with Germanic vocals. Yet there are moments of beauty, when the sensuous bass brings out the humanity in the human voice (in “Don’t Let Go” for example).

The music shows little departure from the debut LP. It’s at its most effective when at its most simple, and I was hoping that the limitations of live performance might have emphasised that side of the group. I’m too old-fashioned, of course - these days there are no limitations when playing live. So the outside world stilt creeps menacingly into songs like “Wish”, by way of tapes.

The record may be called “Low Technology”, but technology is essential to the sounds created on this stage, piling sensations onto the contributions of the three humans present. The use of resources is as modern as, for example, New Order, the sounds as cool, but here with the addition of an oblique femininity. The name of the group seems very apt to the two sides.

The result is a very brief taste of the pink industrial world but enough to show that, if Jayne’s already written her place into (local) history, she’s quite ready for another chapter.