Receiving the promo for the new single from Naked Lunch instantly raised a tingle as thoughts shot back to our first discovery of them through their appearance of the Some Bizarre compilation album from Mute Records way back in 1981 with the excellent Rabies single coming soon after. Returning after a 30 year break the band shows that maturity and time has not diminished their unique sense of and adventure within electronic music one iota. Alone is an evocative slice of haunting and provoking imagination drenched in the presence fans of the band remember and brought with a fresh and potent, almost destructive dark breath.
Formed in 1979 by vocalist Tony Mayo and guitarist Gary Shepherd as Sons of Perdition, though this name was changed to Naked Lunch after their debut gig, the band underwent a few changes in personnel as well as working out and delivering their sounds live. To condense their story, from a show alongside the likes of DAF, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, B Movie, and Clock DVA organised by the band and Stevo, who Tony had DJ’ed with previously, the band undertook the Naked Lunch’s Electronic Indoctrination Tour in 1980 which included a show at Leeds Futurama, which was filmed and eventually broadcast on BBC2. Naked Lunch then set about helping Stevo find artists and recordings to make up the Some Bizarre album, to which the band itself contributed La Femme (a song originally called Le Femme but Phonogram who the Daniel Miller (The Normal) owned Mute released the album through, changed it to grammatically correct French, missing the point of the androgyny of the electronic music scene and that the song was about that). After a parting with Stevo, Naked Lunch became managed by Ramkup with the single Rabies backed by Slipping Again being released, though it suffered from a ban on day time radio play due to the title but did receive good play and support from the likes of John Peel and Nicky Horne on their night time shows. Line-up changes continued t before the band split in 1981 with Mayo retaining the name Naked Lunch, which he registered with Companies House in May 1981. A second version of the band emerged as a live thing until 1985 and though Mayo continued with Naked Lunch projects the band as such was a quiet presence.
2010 saw Mayo link up again with early member Paul Davies and writing new material, with Mick Clark and Cliff Chapman joining in 2011, both in the original line-up. Their first gig for over 30 years came at BAS II with the addition of Mark Irvine coming in early 2012 and Jet Noir linking up in June of this year.
Themed by “Isolation, Loss and Feeling Disconnected from Society”, Alone immediately unleashes a rich beckoning atmosphere upon the ear to dramatically mark the return of the band, its lingering caresses and expansive breath an evocative cloak around the vocals of Mayo, his tones understandably feeling older and authoritative. Keys and guitars bring suggestive hues to the air and thoughts whilst the excellent backing whispered vocal kisses of Black simultaneously chill and seduce the touch of the track. With a more than slight Fad Gadget essence and the vibrant light spots and melodic teasing holding a sense of Yello to their temptation, the song is a mesmeric blend of frosty intent and warm electronic persuasion.
The single is an absorbing pleasure which raises real appetite for future sounds and endeavours of the band. Naked Lunch is as strong and as impacting as ever and electronic music will only benefit from their return.
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