on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2016 20 Feb

Lifetones: For A Reason (available: March 18th)

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 1 Comment

Yes, I remember this record, a floating one after the end of This Heat. Soft was no foreign language for the trio – even their blue and yellow debut, hard core in many ways, contained passages, moments at least, with a touch of Robert Wyatt’s tenderness. That became even more obvious on their other masterpiece, „Deceit“.

Dusting himself off after the collapse of the band in 1982, guitarist/vocalist Charles Bullen united with Julius Samuel to form Lifetones and embraced the sounds of the local West Indian community to fuse reggae flavor to the kind of propulsive, rhythmic, and experimental music made by This Heat.

„For A Reason“ was a great leap, one that created a strange, unsettling mood as Bullen´s multi-tracked, chant-like vocals met dub beats and Krautrock-informed repetition. Where „Deceit“ dealt (among other matters) with the nuclear threat, „For A Reason“ was even quoting Bob Marley in its lyrics: “ … you love the life you live, you live the life you love.“

Even though This Heat had no commercial success to follow up on, For A Reason was an album created with no intention of hitting the charts. Reissued on Light In The Attic, Lifetones´ single album retains a timeless quality and perhaps–on tracks such as „Good Side“–a futuristic sound that nobody else ever caught up to.

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1 Comment

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    „LIFETONES shares the same repetitive propulsion as This Heat with more of an emphasis on reggae and dub. Imagine the coda of Health And Efficiency played by The Upsetters.

    There are long instrumental ragas hammered down by locked disco grooves.

    Poptones threaded into spiralling counterpoint and lacquered with high-life guitar licks and cavernous solo clarinet leaning into Arabic maqam.

    The production is glassy and has something of that early ’80s post-punk aesthetic, but it gives way to a warmer, more exotic sound palette.

    Bullen’s lyrical aphorisms are often palindromic – “you love the life you live, you live the life you love” – and delivered with a lethargic drawl giving them a welcome sense of detachment.

    Self-help altruisms, textbook histories, familiar parlance, repeated ad infinitum until the very fibre of each cliche becomes porous and their meanings subverted.“

    (A memory text from a guy who lived there, in the South of London, in the 80’s)

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