Walls Of Genius ‎– Raw Sewage, Vol. 1

Not On Label ‎– none
CDr, Compilation



All tracks are from 60 to 90 minute cassettes issued by
Walls Of Genius in 1983 and 1984.


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May 13, 2012
My first impression, on seeing the group posing on the back cover of this CD, all dressed in bad wigs and fashion victim clothes which might have been cool the moment they bought them, but instantly changed as they left the shopkeeper laughing and entered the 'real world' was "ah, BONZO DOG!". And indeed there are times when they brush parallel with those other geniuses ("Long Tall Woman", a little more raw and 'demo'-ish, might have come from an early BONZO session).

But mostly they create their own mad weird world.

"Red River Valley", a cover I believe, perfectly encapsulates their madness - a relationship in the state of collapse set to some calming, charming music. A jagged mirror reflecting the lunacy of love.

Another initial impression is that, despite what you might expect, they are really rather good - creating a mostly soft easy listening rhythmic music which can be both spartan and full-bodied simultaneously. Musically they have a kind of CAN feel - seat-of-their-pants music which actually works, and works well. Most of the pieces here are instrumental, and where the vocals do appear, they are mainly background and deliberately indistinct and mumbly. And like the CAN field of Progressive music, many of the tracks here seem to sprawl for a limitless amount of time.

Sometimes they lose it and fall into a muddy pool of self-indulgent wankery ("I'm So Glad" f'rinstance - consisting of the title repeated over and over embroidered with various coprolalic exclaimations - not a high moment, but somehow containing the same charm as listening to a crazy outburst after a couple of hours of pointless political debate. And sometimes their ragged, abrasive style (definitely heavily LITTLE FYODOR-led) has an almost VELVET UNDERGROUND dualism (I refer to the cute love song "Sunday, Monday Or Always" which has the romantic gesture of a bouquet of Poison Ivy, Bella Donna, Thistles and Stinging Nettles - you somehow can't be offended as you know the sentiment is heartfelt). And "Murderer's Nightmare", set to simple percussive synth has a similar monologue feel to "The Gift".

For music dredged out of cassettes, this had a rich, noise-free quality way above expectations.

Originally reviewed for Metamorphic Journeyman.