The Raincoats “Odyshape” (Rough Trade, 1981)

homepage_large.963abbe0The Raincoats hold it together just as much as their Delta 5/Au Pairs contemporaries, but the atmosphere provided by The Raincoats is much more melancholic and spacious. Known to many Americans as one of those bands to check off their Kurt Cobain-faves list, this London post-punk group was really one of the most adventurous bands emerging in their day.

While the other popular, predominantly girl bands had punk and funk flair to match or better Gang Of Four, The Raincoats instead went an alternate route, swapping many little instruments that enfolded tentative, folky vocals. The centerpiece is probably “Only Loved At Night,” all chimes, percussion, thumb piano and tinny guitar occasionally punctuated by bass tones.

Each song offers new sounds, new instruments, guest musicians including Robert Wyatt… This is the idea of post-punk as sound-on-record with little regard for continuity. Are you a fan of PiL, early Scritti Politti, the jazz of Art Ensemble Of Chicago and Don Cherry, far-out dub? If that sounds good, and you aren’t a Raincoats yet, this one will do the trick. -Wade

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