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brenda ray - D'ya Hear Me! : Naffi Years, 1979-83
**Includes fold-out colour insert printed on high-quality stock. Big tip for fans of Vazz, Antena, The Young Marble Giants, The Slits, and classic C86 sounds** Japan's ever-intriguing reissue imprint EM Records comes up trumps again with a follow-up to Brenda Ray's hugely charming, reggae-inflected post-punk, bossa & pop experiments collected on 'Walatta'. This one, 'D'Ya Hear Me!' surveys a rawer, more avant and DIY sound, mostly recorded straight to tape with no rehearsals at Cheshire's Naffi studios between 1979-83, as they say; "Bands in London, Bristol etc, were using the top studios/equipment, and doing things properly as rehearsed bands. Naffi never rehearsed - it would have taken away the magic! Naffi were completely do it yourself and low-fi, a secret society releasing secret hits!" But to be fair, the arrangements, lyrics and production are all shockingly good, and if they really didn't rehearse then this is even more magical. It's the sort of record which could really only have occurred out of the London spotlight, where indigienous homegrown influences from her native North West locales of Liverpool and Manchester and their record-devouring fanatics - soaking up everything from Pharoah Sanders and Ornette Coleman to rockabilly and imported soul - and its musicians could create the right kind of creative atmosphere for such an endearing anomaly to come along. Apparently even Nico was fan... Highly Recommended!