read also our Nake and the Dead Feature Interview

The Naked And The Dead
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

It’s not often you get a letter mentioning Ritual as being an influence but Greg Fasolino, a friend of Blu, contacted me and sent through this retrospective CD of The Naked And The Dead, which is a genuine case of 19809’s treasure trove. Just looking at it is nostalgia nirvana with masses of high hair, and those weedy black vests and leggings. (No kung-fu slippers?) That was early 80’s Post-Punk, which had more character that mid-late 80’s Goth ever would. Greg admits that the band was influenced by Sex Gang, Bauhaus, Iggy, UK Decay, South Death Cult and Birthday Party, and the evidence is all there, but as with other talented individuals at the time, they have their own sound emerging from it all. The energy would probably confused most young UK Goths who like things rounded and noisy, but don’t understand this rapier-thin intensity any more, but that’s their loss.

Spindly guitar and ’difficult’ rhythms, involving some frantic floor tom activity, are to the fore, with little vivacious vocal bubbles (think Claire Grogan with attitude) and a cool way of applying a wash of sound to the demos, with the guitar as star player. A nice overall commotion to the repeated songs here, including the jittery ‘Taboo’, plus tough twisters, ‘Cassandra’ and ‘Carousel’, which are also shown in their considerably more basic live incarnations. ‘The Gate’ has a fantastic rhythm going with bass and drums chugging out the same roaring beat there was in the award-winning advert for the Guinness ad where the swimmer awaiting the enormous wave. (Get your lawyers on the case now!) A frothy ‘Kisses Like Death’ isn’t bad and it’s a shame there’s no demo of ‘Faith Floods Down’ because that’s another one with rivulets of splendour glinting through the tumult.

Oddly you get one and a half versions of UK Decay’s ‘Duel’, the second of which is quite cute, a version of ‘Real Cool Time’ which I shall charitably call Stooges-Lite and a decent stab at ‘Sense Of Elation’ where the intricacies prove just a little too difficult. Bit of a shambles, actually.  It was all over for them too quickly, which is a shame, because the later material is interesting. ‘Cat Of The Nine’ is rubbish, but the scrappy edginess in ‘Crown Of Thorns’ and the effects/vocal symphony that was ‘Godfather Grimoire’ really impress, especially the latter which was either a fluke, or ahead of its time. 

Greg sells the CD for a ludicrously small sum and you’d have to be crazy to miss out if you appreciate a time when people still were pioneers. Truly!

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