Pere Ubu – Lady from Shanghai (2013)
Ah! Pere Ubu, the perennially impossible to categorise band from Ohio. Are they art-rock? Are they Avant garde? Are they punk? What about Industrial? Mutant Disco? Well, they are all of these and more!
Lady From Shanghai is their 14th studio album and the first I have listened to in a long while (too long!).
The sound of this Lady From Shanghai is varied, shifting from accessible to out there and back again. Mandy sounds like the Kinks took too many psychedelics, The Road Trip of Bipasha Ahmed is an outsider groove, whereas 414 Seconds and Musicians Are Scum bring forth the spirit of Captain Beefheart. The latter title highlighting, to me, what I think the aim of this album is; it seeks to destroy/subvert/reimagine music; the opening track, Thanks, mutates the melody of Ring My Bell by Anita Ward changing the words to “you can go to hell; go to hell”, and And Then Nothing Happened begins sensibly enough and then descends into an industrial soundscape that Throbbing Gristle would be proud of.
This is a warped, desolate, bleak and sometimes cynical vision of what music for dancing should sound like. The bass and drums carry that theme so tightly in amongst the sampled madness and that leads me to comparisons with Public Image Ltd, especially on a tracks such as The Road Trip of Bipasha Ahmed and Lampshade Man.
The favourite tracks below are a guide only; I could choose any three at random, the whole album is fantastic!
Favourite tracks: Mandy, The Road Trip of Bipasha Ahmed, Musicians Are Scum
Spotify link: Pere Ubu – Lady from Shanghai