Sunday, July 17, 2011

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - Talk About the Weather (Red Rhino Records, 1985)

Yet another of the sprawling Horde of Leeds, The Lorries actually released their debut single “Beating My Head” (Red Rhino Records) right back in 1982, but it would be another three years and two Peel Sessions before their first full-length Talk About the Weather would see the light of day.

Their first single which for a band who by popular perception 
became slotted into the Goth genre, had about as un-Goth 
a piece of cover art as it is possible to imagine.

Taking their name from a lesser known tongue twister (go on, you try saying “Red Lorry Yellow Lorry” five times fast after a couple of pints), the group brandished a musical style, both belligerent and bleak, not unlike a much less restrained version of Joy Division although the Lorries themselves would maintain that a much bigger influence was post-punk outfit Wire.

Talk About the Weather is a loud and desolate piece of engaging post-punk, that for better or worse saw the group labeled as Goth. If we accept that The Lorries at this stage, did indeed fall under the Goth umbrella, then they make a compelling argument for what Goth with maturity can be – tales of vampires, belltowers, Crowleyesque references, and girls with unlikely exotic names ending in “a” are simply unnecessary when human angst, cynicism and ennui are sufficient in themselves to render bleak atmospheres and dark soundscapes.

Nowhere is this better demonstrated in the album’s accompanying single “Hollow Eyes” (Red Rhino Records, 1984):
“I’ve seen that look, I know those eyes, I think this is a thin disguise,
Alone at last, but no surprise, I’d seen it in those hollow eyes,
You should have seen them…
An empty room, an empty space, But you can’t really hide your face,
I’ve seen that look of hate inside, I see it in those hollow eyes.
This is the place where I have seen, you hide behind your sunken dreams,
I had this feeling deep inside, you hid behind those hollow eyes.”

‘tis a merry little ditty no?

Around the 84-86 period the artwork became decidedly darker

But you don’t need to listen to me banging on about RLYL’s sound, not when various helpful netizens have put Talk About the Weather in its entirety on Youtube. Go – hear it for yourself.

A second single “This Today” (Red Rhino Records, 1984) was also in the mix there somewhere, but after Talk About the Weather, drummer Mick Brown would depart, joining Wayne Hussey and his chums on the run from The Sisters of Mercy to form what would become The Mission. Meanwhile Red Lorry Yellow Lorry under a new configuration would release Paint Your Wagon (Red Rhino Records, 1986) and a small litter of new singles.

Later RLYL albums like Nothing’s Wrong (Situation Two, 1988) and Blow (Situation Two, 1989) would grow to display more musically rich textures and while arguably less bleak and Gothy, nevertheless remain quality work.

I must admit, none of those videos were that visually engaging, so here is some live (and presumably bootleg) footage of them performing Talk About The Weather in Brussels in 2004 to make up for it.

Come to think of it, that wasn’t too visually spectacular either, but at least it contains images of people who were reported to be actual living beings – oh well, moving right along…

As the video suggests, they’re still going, releasing the self-issued Black Tracks EP in 2004, their first since 1991’s Blasting off (Deathwish Office, 1991), and playing live at Slimelight as recently as October 2010.

And so we end as we began with The Lorries continuing their 
long-running penchant for very un-Gothy cover art. 
Note the distinct absence of gargoyles...

Track Listing:
1)      Talk About the Weather
2)      Hand on Heart
3)      Feel a Piece
4)      Hollow Eyes
5)      This Today
6)      Sometimes
7)      Strange Dream
8)      Happy

Talk about the Weather was re-released on CD first as a split with their second album Paint Your Wagon by Cherry Red in 1994 and again as a CD in its own right in 2005 with massive amounts of bonus tracks, also through Cherry Red.

Line up: Chris Reed (vocals, guitar), David Wolfenden (guitar), Paul Southern (bass), Mick Brown (drums)


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