Friday, April 22, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 222 - The The - Mind Bomb

By: March

Album - Mind Bomb
Artist - The The
Key Players - Matt Johnson * (lots of guests we will get to that).
Produced By - Warne Livesey, Roli Mosimann & Matt Johnson

Release Date - July 11, 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I was thinking of this band when I caught myself humming "Kingdom of Rain."

Overview - This was the fourth album release by UK based "The The". The "band" was largely an outlet for multi-instrumentalist Matt Johnson who would do the vocals, play instruments and co-produce. Even with the revolving door of other players Johnson would harness their skills and create many of the stepping stones for "post punk".

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - (The "band" varies by track so I'll point out some of the more notable players..apologies if I didn't mention your favorite).

"Good Morning, Beautiful" Johnny Marr is the guitar player on all but one of the tracks (track 2) James Eller is the bassist and David Palmer is the drummer for the entire record. There is a fuzzy spoken portion at the start. It is listed as a child's prayer and the piano begins at the end. Horns then feed in to the mix and the chat fades, but returns. We loop back to the piano and then Marr gets a few bigger notes as the song starts to take shape. Johnson sings hushed at times, but is clear and articulate. Palmer hits the drums hard, but it does not overwhelm the track. Mark Feltham plays an electronic harmonica which blends with the horns and the growl of Johnson comes back in for verse two. The band is very tight and it has a big sound to it. "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" feels like it will be laid back but Palmer clicks the drums off and we are much more uptempo that the opener. The drums have a particular punch to them and Johnson carves his riffs over the top. Johnson gets help on the chorus with a choir and string section. Feltman returns with the harmonica at the start of "The Violence of Truth". Palmer is punched up once more and "Wix" finds a tight groove on the hammond organ. James Eller keeps his bass line focused and the drums are also very simple, but are mixed so well they stand out. Marr gets a good buzzy solo run but it is not too long before Feltham is back. The band finds a tight jam I wish they did more with but it is still strong. A thunder storm starts off "Kingdom of Rain". This time we have acoustic guitar and a very hushed Johnson. Sinead O'Connor tandems with Johnson on lead vocals and backup. The band gets a little more urgent as the chorus approaches. The bass line rolls across as congas and bongos fill the track. O'Conner gets more urgent and her powerful voice really comes out during the second verse. A sort of rockabilly feel opens "The Beat(en) Generation". This track has the first real sing along moment with the chorus. The guitars have a nice ring to them an Feltham gets to play harmonica again for you. There are four additional voices singing on the chorus which adds to the sound. The shortest track ends there and we head to "August & September" . The piano works to get the track in motion as Johnson is restrained, feeding off the piano from time to time. The acoustic bass has a really haunting tone an the oboe and bass clarinet really fill out a very unique sound. "Gravitate to Me" is one of the songs you could pick out as a single from the record. In the credits Pedro Halemann is listed as playing "water percussion" and what sounds like a harmonica could perhaps be Johnson playing keyboards and/or Melodica? Marr has a sort guitar solo an the percussive instruments shake things up as well. The album concludes with "Beyond Love". A flugel horn opens the track and Eller comes in on bass whole Palmer is slower to get rolling on the drums. It is a slower track, but continues to showcase the full band which is a nice touch.

Where are they now? - The Band has released 8 full length albums commercially, and are rumored to have many unissued. The The works mostly with soundtracks these days. The most recent was a soundtrack for the film Tony in 2010. Matt the only full time/consistent member.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have never seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take - There are some great moments on this record. Overall the band is tight an Johnson has a great idea of what and where he wants to go. Much of their domestic stuff is out of print but even with that you wouldn't have to look to far to track down on of their cds. "Infected" is on of the bands more notable songs as well. For less than $5.00 you can track this down, and it is worth it.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The video for "Kingdom Of Rain" here.
The Video for "Beat(en) Generation here
And "Gravitate to Me" is here.

One fun thing to note. In the liner notes the band asks that "To obtain maximum joy" that you "Play very loud, very late, very alone an with light turned down very low."

The original album is out of print, but not to hard to find, and there is a remastered version out as well. Grab a copy



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