- Released: 1984
- Origin: Inkberrow, Worcestershire, England
- Label: Reflex
- Best Track: Shrine
A post popped up on my Facebook news feed recently that asked you to list your favourite albums from the year you were born. It made me realise that I have a bit of a 1984 blind spot.
It doesn’t seem like it was the strongest of years for my kind of music. Plenty of bands I like released records, but they’re generally not ones regarded as their best, with the possible exceptions of Husker Du’s Zen Arcade and The Smiths’ self-titled debut. Black Flag released My War, which I don’t think I’ve heard before and might well cover in a future review.
When looking into highly rated albums from the year, my attention was caught by the intriguingly named post-punk band And Also the Trees and their self-titled debut LP. It doesn’t appear to be available on Apple Music, but I found the full album uploaded to YouTube.
And my word, what a wonderful post-punk record this is! Poetic, cacophonous and intense, the vocals remind me a little of Bowie, but the gothic undertones are reminiscent of The Cure. It’s more melodic than I was expecting too, for an obscure and artistic debut. And while post-punk always has a feeling of claustrophobia, the sense of isolation and gloom seems all the more real when its a band hailing not from the urban sprawls of London and Manchester, but a poky village in the rural West Midlands.
Second track ‘Talk Without Words’ is a cracker – murky and moody – while ‘Midnight Garden’ is almost an instrumental, chugging along with this very simple but gritty riff.
‘Impulse of Man’ is the heaviest track on the album with Simon Jones’s authoritative bellowing and spoken word, and the somehow catchy drone of ‘Shrine’ is the peak of the album for me. But seriously, every track is excellent, making this something of an under-the-radar classic.
It’s a great feeling discovering a band with a whole body of work to dive into – no fewer than 14 albums to date, in fact. And even in the current climate, I won’t let the name of the 1986 follow-up Virus Meadow put me off listening!