cult of the week – Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls

artist: Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls

title: Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls

year: 1980

label: RSO Records

personnel: Pauline Murray, Martin Hannett, Steve Hopkins, Robert Blamire, John Maher, Dave Rowbotham, Dave Hassell, Vini Reilly

tracklisting: screaming in the darkness, dream sequence, european eyes, shoot you down, sympathy, time slipping, drummer boy, thundertunes, when will we learn, mr x, judgement day

further info:

cotw say

admiration for the work of Factory Records’ remarkable in-house producer Martin Hannett has grown with each year that has passed since his untimely death in 1991. time, then, to appraise one the of the lesser known works in the Hannett catalogue, production and arrangement duties for ex-Penetration singer Pauline Murray’s solo debut with the assistance of Steve Hopkins.

those familiar with Hannett and Hopkins’ best known appearance as the Invisible Girls – namely, the majority of the recorded output of punk poet John Cooper-Clarke – will be familiar with the sounds and textures here. despite Hannett’s better-known associations with gloom (i.e. Joy Division), his work as an arranger is much lighter and poppier. piano, wispy synthesized strings and pads, distant guitar textures and typically echoing drums are all perfectly suited to Murray’s fey, quite ornate vocals and give the album a wonderfully expansive, but nevertheless, edgy, feel. fortunately, the songs are more than up to the task. from the pure (dark) pop of ‘Dream Sequence’ and ‘Shoot you Down’ to the artier and more urgent ‘Mr X’, each track manages to maintain a defiantly European quality which avoids even the slightest hint of a blues-based melody and should appeal to most.

invisible, perhaps. but let’s hope not for much longer.