ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”




OH, weve 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! Whats 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 wasnt a mountain high enough way back then but this isnt 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 doesnt excuse it) is previously unreleased and no wonder. Dead. Naff. Dead naff. And Broooces “Born To Run” is a much better joke with the HM wig n homo macho poses to pump up the perversity.

ZTTs 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 its a fleeting spastic cut up of what was presumably, at some stage, some development towards a tranquil beauty. “Egypt” isnt 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 isnt.

But Propaganda. Ah, Propaganda! Now heres 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. Its the sound of falling in love — fruity, erotic and untrustworthy.

After that, naturally, its tosh. Anne Pigalle is Mari Wilson with a bigger nose and a noise more brittle and ZTT should know that French and mysterious arent necessarily synonymous. Andrew Poppy? Hippy nonsense, symphonic blather for egghead existentialists who cant 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 theres any justice in this world (which we know there isnt) 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 theres nothing new? Maybe because theyve fallen foul and grown fat?

Or maybe its 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.

Steve Sutherland