The

Mick

Sinclair

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David J

November

1983

Sounds

album review

 
 
ETIQUETTE OF VIOLENCE

David Jay

DAVID J (nee Jay) used to be in Bauhaus. That fact alone has doubtless caused countless thousands to turn the page, reactions to that combo veering from revelation to revulsion.

Personally I used to hate them, an attitude drawn mainly from ignorance and the mere assumption that they embodied all the trivial, twee and unnecessary details of Rock Music that, as a 'fan' loaded with herdlike preconceptions, I was destined to abhor.

Then one night under the strobe-light I realised that they were shaping up their own definition of the strictures applicable to the whole rock and roll fairycake, All done with a bold and razor-fine malice that slid through the coordinates laid down by the forces of control that operate at this end of Popular Culture.

With 'Etiquette Of Violence' (that title!), Mr J again sets himself up so much as to virtually ask for a critical lampooning, particularly lyrically with the stuff of embarrissing-poetry-people-write-before- outgrowing-a-half-fare-on-the-bus which, through sheer persistance, attains a level of high art. Indeed, there is something gleaming and wicked in the very act of even daring to release this item.

It pays (aesthetically) to dodge the obvious bait and offer a little of your own indulgence (to keep pace with David's). The contents throw allusive hints to scenes and images, nothing so mundane as to be specific.

Perhaps the most self-contained dip is the recent single 'Joe Orton's Wedding', a seemingly pseudo-drunken brain boggler put together with equal amounts of care and disdain and with a humour to match the colour of the cover (black - Very Black).

One aspect of the pleasure within 'Etiquette Of Violence' is the perpetual unfolding. With repeated playings (it seems to take ages to get through - thorough time distortion!) now things appear and old things recede. Musically, it hangs together an a spidery succession of sparsely separate but interlocking moments.

You never know fully what it's all about, Or whether it's all about anything. And you're drawn not to a conclusion but back to the beginning to start the whole investigation process again.

Approach with brain.

 

mick sinclair

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To read many more articles and reviews (over 140,000 words-worth!) written by Mick Sinclair, buy Adjusting the Stars: Music journalism from post-punk London