1981, Music

8 Eyed Spy (1981)

This is my first experience of Lydia Lunch. My understanding is that it is a record she made with the band she formed to tour her debut solo album, released the year before. (A few of the recordings are from the tour itself, it seems.)

Like many other performers I’ve read about too much before hearing, I had a particular set of expectations for this record. But given that I’ve heard the Contortions, these expectations were perhaps a little closer to the actual record.

To my ears this is no wave via rock and roll. (There are covers of two famous rock songs, by my count.) So, it’s therefore more conventional than the most extreme no wave, despite Lunch’s singing (which is designed to alienate). Imagine if the Magic Band played rock and roll instead of the blues and the Captain was a woman with no range, and you sort of get an idea for what we’re talking about. Another comparison might be The Raincoats’ cover of “Lola,” which is perhaps a titch more musical than these covers, but equally alienating.

I have a hard time reconciling Lunch’s own personal statements about music with the actual music here – someone who claims to despise rock music this much probably shouldn’t cover CCR and Jefferson Airplane, so obviously – but I enjoy the music in its deconstructionism and in imagining how annoying some people would find it (particularly Lunch’s voice).

But I find this lacks a bit of commitment to be compared to the greatest no wave. A concession has been made to listenability/accessibility which, though good for us listeners in some ways, saps some of the conceptual power of the genre.

8/10

  1.  Diddy Wah Diddy 2:13
  2. Love Split With Blood 2:04
  3. Ran Away Dark 1:55
  4. Lazy in Love 2:50
  5. Run Thru the Jungle 6:15
  6. Motor Oil Shanty 4:20
  7. Lightning’s Girl 3:02
  8. You Twist, I Shout 4:28I Want Candy 2:00
  9. Two Square 2:30
  10. Maintaining My Cool 1:27
  11. Get You Me B Side 3:28
  12. White Rabbit 2:30
  • Pat Irwin: saxophone, guitar
  • Lydia Lunch: vocals
  • Michael Paumgardhen: guitar
  • Jim Sclavunos: drums
  • George Scott: bass guitar

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