Issued in 1979 by the short-lived Radar imprint under Warner UK, Soldier Talk is among the loopiest of the Red Krayola's offerings. Featuring Mayo Thompson and Jesse Chamberlain's vocal warbling, with ear-woundingly thin Fender guitar with the treble turned all the way up, and Chamberlain's very jazz-like drumming. While these two pair up on a number of cuts as simply a duo, there are other players here as well, including all of the Chrysalis-era, New Picnic Time Pere Ubu, Lora Logic, Dick Cuthell, and Christine Thompson. Yeah. These "songs" are engaging, even compelling in places, but seldom together. Thompson is as humorous as a sarcastic academic most of the time here, as though he hasn't fully digested all the theory he was still taking in. This is more like Deluze and Guatarri doing avant rock than Thompson's later exercises which are roaring-out-loud hilarious. That said, there are great moments here and any real fan of the Krayola needs this -- for the post-punk drive, drop, and crash of "Conspirator's Oath," the drifting instrumental washes of "X" with Logic; or the angular, off-kilter, knife's-edge white-boy funk of "Uh, Knowledge Dance," which could have actually been covered by the Pop Group -- and Thomspon sounds uncannily like Mark Stewart of same here. There are stronger moments by the Red Krayola, but this one certainly has its own, and should be snagged by anyone interested in the band, Art & Language, or post-punk's more musically adventurous side. AMG.
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