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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Rip Rig + Panic, Attitude November 14, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

It’s years since I first heard Rip Rig + Panic, either late 1980s or early 1990s. And their blend of music was infectious. But a curious group too because there was always an atonal aspect to their music. Part of that came from jazz (their name was taken from a Roland Kirk album name). Part of it came from post-punk – two of their number were former members of the Pop Group. With a line up that included bass, two – or was it three – saxes, drums, two or more singers, a trumpeter, a violinist obviously the scope for chaos was strong.

The line up, including a young Nenah Cherry, in a way suggests a precursor of later groups huddled around Bristol, and something of the same sense of boundaries there to be broken. Too abrasive for pop, too all-embracing for rock, dancey, though in that curiously anti-dance way that so many early 1980s and post punk groups were, but also simply fun.

Note that Attitude, their third album all the way from 1983, was according to some accounts meant to be the ‘accessible’ one. Well. Yeah. But no.

So we’re offered a range of tracks which lean on jerky jazz inflected soul and post-punk, both lyrically and musically. There are moments that are pop – almost. Keep the Sharks from Your Heart is one such. A rush of vocals and melodies that struggle to keep up with one another and yet somehow coalesce perfectly.

Rip Open is like Aladdin Sane but reworked by a frenetically urgent post-punk crew. Which I guess is precisely what Rip Rig + Panic were. Go Do the Tightrope – pop from some alternative planet, that vocal as it meanders in a moment or so in…

And then there’s other moments, for example from the bonus tracks edition, 1619, a Dutch Vessel Docked in the USA with 20 Humans for Sale is a short, far from pretty, instrumental – but the title alone even now makes me stop short.

I can well imagine this is marmite to some, neither jazz nor pop nor soul nor post punk but all these things combined. Too speedy for one or another. And yet there are entire passages of music from this that I know by heart, years, decades after hearing them first. There’s something of greatness about it.

Do The Tightrope

Rip Open, But Oh So Long Thy Wounds Take to Heal

Keep The Sharks From Your Heart

How That Spark Sets Me Aglow

1619, a Dutch Vessel Docked in the USA with 20 Humans for Sale


1. hatfulofhistory - November 15, 2015

And they were one of the hallowed bands to be in The Young Ones.


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