Album #218: Section 25 – Always Now

  • Released: 1981
  • Origin: Blackpool, England
  • Label: Factory
  • Best Track: Be Brave

Post-punk is probably my favourite genre of music, but there’s a lot of parts of its late ’70s and early ’80s tapestry that I’m pretty ignorant of. Section 21 get a brief mention in the book Yeah Yeah Yeah by Bob Stanley (I mentioned recently that I’m reading it), so I thought I’d make them next on my list.

Released on the legendary Factory label, Section 21 sound a lot like they were trying to pick up the pieces of Joy Division on debut album Always Now. Still, that’s not a bad thing to do. They get the aesthetics spot on from the start, with the vocals sparse and the bass prominent on opening tracks ‘Friendly Fires’ and ‘Dirty Disco’.

Not unlike Closer, it seems to get more funereal as it goes on, particularly with ‘Hit’ (which apparently was sampled by Kanye West) and ‘Babies in the Bardo’. The top pick off the album is ‘Be Brave’ for me, with its Peter Hook style driving bassline and Larry Cassidy’s repetition of sarcastic lyrics like ‘oh happiness’ and ‘let’s see the smile’ making it a paranoid and unsettling chronicle of keeping miserable feelings bottled up.

Nearly 40 years on, it might be difficult to see this album as pivotal to the scene, but it’s moody, atmospheric and makes me want to explore the Section 25 catalogue (now consisting of nine albums including one as recent as 2018) further.

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