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pere ubu - Lady From Shanghai
35 years since their seminal debut 'The Modern Dance', Pere Ubu's 'Lady From Shanghai' is arguably their best record since that early '80s post-punk heyday. David Thomas is beguiling and compelling as ever as the wryly observant and visionary frontman - Cleveland, Ohio's answer to Manchester's Mark E. Smith. He's backed by longtime spar Keith Moliné (guitar, bass), plus Robert Wheeler (EML synthesizer, Grendel Drone Commander, Korg iMS-20, SNM Cacophonator II), Gagarin (digital electronica, piano, organ), Michele Temple (bass, guitar, bells) and Steve Mehlman (drums, vocals, organ) in a widescreen feature combining traces of their youthful best - sci-fi synth tones, unstable concrète dynamics, lean krautrock rhythms, uniquely expressive guitar and, of course, those inimitable, influential vocals - with an eternal maturity and that experimental, borderline surreal or psychedelic streak cultishly adored by so many. It's very easy to hear why they're held in such high regard: there's a elusive, intangible oddness at play throughout 'Lady From Shanghai'; playing from a subversive, skewed perspective, drilling so-stiff-they're actually-funky grooves below the bold statement "Smash The Hegemony Of Dance, Stand Still" while DT's half-heard mumblings practically impart more by his frayed, bluesy, mid-west intonation than anything else. Very enjoyable.