Picks and Pans Review: Immunity
Too much cheer and good fortune in your life? Been looking for some music to bring you down, and you're tired of The Wall? Either of these new works by two Pink Floyd-oid groups from Britain should do the trick. Both make the harbingers of futuristic doom like the Talking Heads sound like the Trapp Family. The Vapors, a quartet, produce the musical equivalent of carbon monoxide, opening their collection with a creepy ditty called Jimmie Jones (as in Jonestown), followed by Spiders ("Baby's in a black web, I'm feeling blue"). The most disturbing of the songs are Johnny's in Love (Again), which, while recorded in 1980, is suggestive of John Hinckley's obsession with Jodie Foster, and Magnets, about a morose, gun-toting assassin. Rupert Hine, a studio veteran who's had one minor hit in the U.K., teams up with a bright lyricist, Jeannette Obstoj, to create an Orwellian nightmare that's more depressing because it is so skillful. He relies heavily on Pink Floyd techniques, copping some sound effects from their Dark Side of the Moon. (Why not? It's been on the charts for seven years.) But Hine offers his own repressive approach to coping with this frail existence in the title cut, lamenting: "No sensation/No elation/Processed all my thought communication/I've tamed imagination." The saving grace of both these LPs is that they contain plenty of daring, if unsettling, ideas. They appeal to our primal fears, like a gory automobile accident or a Francis Bacon painting.