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Title: Various artists: IQ 6 Zang Tuum Tumb Sampled
Author: Steve Sutherland
Source: Melody Maker
Publish date: October 19, 1985


OH, we’ve been here before alright, heard the godawful and the glorious, the truly creative and the gruesome cretinous, all in two years, all courtesy of ZTT. What a label! What a strategy! What’s going on?

Marketing gone mad? Vision gone mouldy? The obvious overkill? Everyone laughed when Horn and his gifted neurotic sidekick Morley signed up a bunch of queers in rubber bolstered from behind by some compensatory heavy heteros. But Frankie did the business screwed it and squeezed it dry.

So dry that now, of course, the thrill is gone. There wasn’t a mountain high enough way back then but this isn’t daring or dashing or derring do, their stuff on this sampler is quite honestly and not surprisingly dull. “Disneyland” (“A bait”, they call it but drawing our attention doesn’t excuse it) is previously unreleased and no wonder. Dead. Naff. Dead naff. And Broooce’s “Born To Run” is a much better joke with the HM wig ‘n’ homo macho poses to pump up the perversity.

ZTT’s other chart successes are also paraded herein, one somewhat more successfully than the other. Out of context, out of anything. The Art Of Noise are bewildered and butchered. “Closing” (but, of course) opens proceedings but it’s a fleeting spastic cut up of what was presumably, at some stage, some development towards a tranquil beauty. “Egypt” isn’t them at all but Morley at the live abomination, pretending to explain why, presumably in post-dated revenge for the real AON flying the nest. Usually such a monologue, isolated from its setting, is intriguing, enigmatic even. This falls flat and isn’t.

But Propaganda. Ah, Propaganda! Now here’s a bliss of a band, bubblegum and more. Their “Femme Fatale” is so obvious it never hurts, a hoot in the po-face of credibility, neither dry nor sinister but gossamer good. A romp, vacuumed clean, “Machine” is a beating on bedsprings, with keyboards exotic as peacocks and perfectly monotonous guitars. It’s the sound of falling in love — fruity, erotic and untrustworthy.

After that, naturally, it’s tosh. Anne Pigalle is Mari Wilson with a bigger nose and a noise more brittle and ZTT should know that French and mysterious aren’t necessarily synonymous. Andrew Poppy? Hippy nonsense, symphonic blather for egghead existentialists who can’t stand lyrics because they think they could do better but are too scared to try so they feign lassitude.

Instinct sound pretty Congo-cool-jazzy but Colourbox have done it much better, much more bitingly, and if there’s any justice in this world (which we know there isn’t) Instinct should have to wait their turn.

Which bring anyone still up with me to ask, why this sampler after all? Maybe because there is no because — Morley contrary as ever? Maybe because there’s nothing new? Maybe because they’ve fallen foul and grown fat?

Or maybe it’s a joke? I, as the one with the voice just now, am not prepared to believe it for this one fleeting moment of our precious, passing time.