China Crisis – Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms

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China Crisis are one of those ’80s groups who are very easy to forget. In fact they slipped my mind for the best part of two decades. Subtle socialists, mellow experimentalists, masters of understatement…it’s hardly surprising they drifted off the radar.

And yet, when I found this copy of their first album recently, I remembered how fascinated I had been with Peter Saville’s sleeve design when I found it in the ‘C’ section at Kays Records & Tapes all those years ago…how I felt drawn to it, but always seemed to have something more important to buy with my pocket money.  I did eventually buy their third album, “Flaunt The Imperfection”, which I enjoyed, then forgot about, then rediscovered recently.

“Difficult Shapes…” captures the group in their naive, yet cautiously probing, early days, resulting in at least one classic semi-hit, “Christian”, though I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the whole album.  I like a lot of the popular music that emerged in the immediate wake of Punk; a period when the industry allowed and fostered the creative autonomy of earnest young men with a desire to reinvent pop in their own image. Despite some of the typical sonic-signifiers of the era, including the dreaded fretless bass, I think this album still stands-up to close scutiny in a way that many other more well-remembered acts of the period fail to.

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Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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