Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Abecedarians - "The Other Side Of The Fence" 2x10"

Hailing from California, and coming up in the mid-80's, I'm sure it was rather unexpected for a band to find themselves signed to Manchester's legendary Factory Records (home to Joy Division, A Certain Ratio, New Order, etc.), but that's exactly what the obscurely-named Abecedarians did. They released a single through Factory, and later went through Caroline Records for their last records. Joining moody, atmospheric soundscapes (sometimes hinting at almost Western/desert-themed introspectivenes and desolation) with melodic indie rock, Abecedarians never quite got their due. A superb video, for the superb song 'Soil', was seen on MTV's old '120 Minutes' way back in the day, but it seems to have only aired once.

This recording, an ultra-limited double 10" EP for art-conscious Independent Project Records, was a collection of early demos from 1983-1985, and according to the liner notes, predates even their first official single. Nonetheless, lest it be seen as rough or unfinished material, 'The Other Side Of The Fence' is a masterful set of tunes with few parallels. Echoes of stuff like Joy Division are evident, but Abecedarians brought a very American vibe to that great, gloomy post-punk scene. All of their work is shamefully out of print now, but here's hoping that someone has the good sense to reissue it soon. (Independent Project)

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