Saturday, July 19, 2008

Book Review - Simon Reynolds: Rip It Up & Start Again...

Simon Reynolds - Rip It Up & Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984
[Faber and Faber Ltd; 2005]

The term post-punk seems to be severely overlooked around the world. Particularly where its origins lay; England. Believe it or not, some people have to name check John Lydon's Public image Limited; those who bang their heads to the jukebox blaring the sounds of 'God Save the Queen', anyway. Memo to these types; post punk isn't just Joy Division and if you care to take a couple of months out of your heavy schedule and read Simon Reynolds' Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 you may just learn a thing or two.

A critic for a wide array of musical publications, Reynolds' works are about the “post” in punk and not always about the sound people associate with the term. A very heft catalogue of artists, people, and scenes zigzag through this book, that forms as the most insightful tale of music that stemmed in the late'70s/ early '80s.

From Sheffield, England where The Human League re-emerged to reach number throughout their career (1981's 'Don't You Want Me'), to Boston, America, where the likes of Mission of Burma were making listeners' ears bleed; the scope of coverage Reynolds gages with Rip it Up... is one of great feats. Maybe a little too insightful for one, who maybe prone to skipping a couple of chapters due to the heavy diversity this book contains.

Whatever you do, though, don't miss out on the chapter of The Fall. Reynolds encapsulates music journalism at its finest right here, integrating political notions with the music (as he does through large quantities of the book). A facet that clearly segregates the boys from the men, so to speak.

By Simon K

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