ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Pinks not dead

Low Technology

Last Saturday The Guardian devote a lengthy Arts column to the dominance of cynical commercial considerations in modern music. I doubt if the members of Liverpools Pink Industry would have paid much attention to the article had they seen it, but they certainly show the other side of the coin.

As the title of their debut album suggests, this is low-budget music produced in splendid isolation, well away from the blustery upheaval of the pop market place.

Pink Industry is the result of a pairing between two Merseyside mini-legends, Ambrose of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Jayne Casey, once of Big Japan and Pink Military. Jaye, you may recall, appeared on the cover of NME back in January 1980 and talked then of incorporating elements of cabaret and torch singing in the rock format — seem to have heard that one somewhere since — and then disappeared from view after releasing a patchy, leaden LP later that year.

With ‘Low Technology, she and Ambrose pick up where Pink Military left off, but shun the latters rockier inclinations in favour of a more jagged approach. Using only voice, synthesiser and percussion, they make a music that is dirty and fragmented rather than clear and formulated; loose rather than clinical. A glossier production might have eradicated some of their indulgences, but it would also have clouded their character and limited the range of their expression.

The mood is sombre, but the music remains compulsively physical. Melodies ebb and flow under the surface, without ever solidifying completely, collage and dub effect drifting in and out of the picture, leaving the music incomplete yet strangely beguiling.

Jayne remains an infuriating performer, veering from the verges of brilliance to the edge of abysmal. Her dark obsessions —  reflected by the titles ‘Enjoy The Pain and ‘Savage — might seem to be the same as those of the new breed of gothic punks, but the warmth and tenderness of her deep, hypnotic voice give the music of Pink Industry a more human, realistic edge.

For all their flaw, music of this purity is indeed rare these days. Admire their insularity and give them patience. It might just pay off.

Adrian Thrills

(Available through Rough Trade or from Zulu Records at 61A Bold St, Liverpool 1.)