Boomkat Product Review:
Off-the-scale rare morsels of early ‘80s Italian “home wave” pop, made readily available for the first time by Melbourne reissue label, Left Ear - RIYL Woo, Vazz, Two Daughters
New to us, and we’d wager almost everyone else beyond the most ardent early ‘80s tape networkers, Influenza Prods now see a long overdue spotlight to their run of three self-released tapes, recorded and issued between 1980 and 1985. Beyond those very hard-to-find pressings, they were also part of the Hawai label’s seminal ’SNX’ boxset (reissue, when?!) and the ‘Insane Music for Insane People’ volumes, which are always a great indicator of intrigue, although they’ve largely evaded attention until now, with ‘Mémorie’ representing their “best of” retrospective for curious souls, and especially anyone with a thing for the cutest, homespun ‘80s songcraft.
The duo of Bruno De Angelis and Giovanna Guinello met thru a mutual friend while living in London, where they’[d arrived for respectively different reasons. Stationed around the corner from Rough Trade, they started messing around with guitars in London, but it wasn’t until they relocated to Rome as a couple that they began making music in quiet earnest, adding in a synth and cheap drum machine they named the “Gigster”, and soon enough disseminating their recordings via the nascent tape art mail rhizome: Greatest Tits (1983), Cheek-A-Bomba (1984) and Quasi Solo (1985).
‘Mémoire’ highlights 12 peaches from that era, before life got more difficult and they disbanded, yet remind friends to this day. From the rickety drums and recorder of ’Niente Fazzoletti’ thru the nostalgic wooze of ‘PeaceSoup’, their sound is the epitome of naif charm. They come off like a beautifully faded Vazz in the standout title tune, while surely paralleling Woo in the lilting sticky sweetness of ‘Pretty City’ or ‘Kada Polazi Vlak’, and even recall a prototype of Romance & Not Waving’s daytime TV studies in the likes of ‘Ciò Che Vide il Pescatore’ and elsewhere thanks to their subtle use of dialogue sampled from British soaps.
While it’s maybe easy to feel like every crumb of ‘80s goodness has already been hoovered up and spat out by the reissue machine, this one’s totally class and worth your time.