This album had a seismic impact on me at a very impressionable age: I vividly remember my first time hearing the incredible opening salvo – maybe the best sequence of four songs on any album. ‘Sunday Morning’, it’s charming, you’re lulled into a dreamy receptivity… then BANG – ‘Waiting For The Man’, it’s like techno discovered twenty years early, a jubilant, purposeful march to the bottom of the abyss, which looks like a collapsing tenement in New York City. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, the album shifts its attack again: ‘Femme Fatale’, this androgynous, death-like groan emerging from a backdrop like an East European cartoon in a nightmare… (I was listening to this at school many years back, in Art, sharing earbuds with a fellow alternative music geek; at this point we stared at each other in incomprehension, almost horror, like “What the fuck…?” Hard to imagine anything having that visceral impact, fascination right on the edge of aversion, now.) Got home, listened to ‘Venus In Furs’. Have an eidetic memory of that moment, of the hairs rising on my forearms, of gazing out at the suburban Oxford street thinking Yes, there is more than this after all. That was a very long time ago, but I flash back to the moment of realization still.
There’s pretty stuff and ugly stuff, and between these extremes a whole new musical and emotional world is opened up. Yeah, this one’s the business.