Call of the Void
I don’t drink alcohol and growing up on Dublin’s grey streets wine was certainly not the tipple of the many alcoholics of the area, unless it was cheap Blue nun. I wouldn’t know how true it is but I have been told a a fine wine only gets better with age. That’s the only way I can describe this album. Three decades ago this band from the North East of England released this record.
What a game changer it was. It took the punk rock bits many of us had grown up with, for some we had discovered us hardcore and the tunes that were going with that. We felt that music was changing trajectory, it didn’t have to continue to be confrontational, it could be conversational. Leatherface were the band that made the next leap.
Guitars abounding everywhere, this was a soaring sound of chords and melodies and words. Not just straight forward words but for me Frankie Stubbs lyrics were as pensive as Shane McGowan. Here was a man deep in his thoughts. “Do you understand what it’s like to be a lost cause” he sings on Bowl of Flies and many of us related to that. There is a melancholoy to Stubbs and I will never forget his solo show in Dublin as part of our DIY Festival in the City Arts Centre. Not a pin dropped as the crowd watched, mesmerized in silence as the beauty and sadness unfolded in front of us.
Being from Sunderland allowed for a classic like Dead Industrial Atmosphere to be written. As many from these industrial cities looked to the Capital and the “red buses” many more resigned themselves to the fact that “We are this world”. It was a place to be proud and people from other grey smog ridden cities around the world saw the beauty of the words. The irony of knowing this is the air of auster but it is where you are, what you are made of. The poignancy thrughout it all is gripping.
The album kicks off with I want the Moon, a tuneful speedy song that calls for all dreamers to continue to dream, and aspire. The record continues in this musicall manner and i have often found myself suddenly singing Leatherface lines, completely out of the blus. These lines have stuck with me for three decades. “I want the moon” or “All I can do is try my best for you” come out practically every day as I lament friends passing or musicians leaving this world.
Thankfully Call of the Void have been involved in re-issuing this on vinyl. Do what you can to get it, make it an early Christmas present for yourself.