Boomkat Product Review:
This Heat’s post-punk classic Deceit completes an official trilogy of vinyl reissues from their seminal and hugely influential run of late ‘70s/early ‘80s recordings which set the template for so, so much avant-rock, noise and experimental music ever since.
Rooted in improvisations from the same period which birthed This Heat, and realised against a paranoid backdrop of looming nuclear war and Mutually Assured Destruction, Deceit finds Charles Bullen (guitar, clarinet, viola, vocals, tapes), Charles Hayward (drums, keyboards, vocals, tapes) and Gareth Currie coalescing around firmer, if still wholly experimental, song structures that perhaps better dealt with and reflected the world around them.
Again they recorded at the Cold Storage studio they’d been building for the previous years, as well as a mobile 16-track studio hired from the back pages of Melody Maker and a variety of other spots, this time yielding eleven songs that rank among post-punk’s most timeless, incandescent examples.
Whether ripping lyrics from TV commercials, as with the patch-worked tape loops and lullaby-like delivery of Sleep, taking a weary glance at surveillance society in Triumph, or coining a very Eldritch form of pulse polyphony in SPQR, and the blue, jazzy pop of Cenotaph, all on the A-side, the group were very conscious of history repeating itself, and self-aware that they didn’t want to fall into the same traps.
With that in mind, they move at more oblique angles across the B-side, recycling album opener Sleep into the hypnotic, cut-up roil of Shrinkwrap, and yanking between feral skronk, mannered vocal harmonies, and fuzzy psychedelic punk-funk in Makeshift Swahili or pursuing modal, Eastern muses and studio spectres in the run from Independence’s dub mistry thru the off-kilter sway of A New Kind of Water and Hi Baku Shyo (Suffer Bomb Disease).
In a lineage stretching back thru The Beatles, The Soft Machine, Can, Neu!, and the Velvet Underground before them, there’s little doubt that This Heat are responsible for affecting the course of popular and experimental music in the late 20th century, and we can still hear the freedom of Deceit writ large on everyone from Micachu and The Shapes to Animal Collective, Caribou, or even the Blackest Ever Black catalogue nowadays.