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Artist: HAPPY REFUGEES
Title: Return To Last Chance Saloon
Format: LP
Label: Acute
Country: USA
Price: $16.00
"U.Ks Happy Refugees never fit in with the scene of early 80s British pop music and they knew it. They knew it when they wrote "as far as music is concerned it is almost an overwhelming embarrassment to be associated with it in any way"� on the back sleeve of their first record. They knew it when they said "we play with a total disregard to a record buying public"� in one of their rare appearances in the press. In the liner notes to this compilation they acknowledge their self-fulfilling prophecy, "We received little recognition and we were reticent to try and find it. Enthusiasm was vulgar to some extent, the band seemed to sit outside everything else that was going on, which of course is a good thing." The music they wrote and self-released can only be described as rock-and-roll. They liked Iggy and the Stooges and John Cale. They liked Richard Hell and the Fall. It was acceptable to like Joy Division, "but slavish enthusiasm was considered spooky and weird." What they hated was heavy metal, goths, "long songs played in strange time signatures by fey bands with long hair" and all the bland music as the post-punk scene gave way to fashion bands aiming for the charts. That first record sleeve made their intentions clear; "I hope Happy Refugees can breathe a breath of fresh air with this record, not just because of the songs but also because it is no way produced with the infatuation of becoming a pop-star."� They wrote songs that were personal and honest. Production and musical chops were rough around the edges, but with 6 members at times, they had a full and layered sound. Scratchy guitars and incessant bass buoyed by a pounding piano created a post-punk jangle meets wall of sound bed for intensely raw songs about lost relationships and lost loved-ones. No matter how abrasive the sound gets, every song is filled with catchy and heartfelt hooks. Its hard to understand why a band this good didnt find a home on Rough Trade or the like. A few years earlier perhaps theyd fit in better with the great DIY bands like Desperate Bicycles and Swell Maps (not exactly rock stars themselves). A few years later they mightve been C86 superstars. As it was, they slipped through the new pop era with only a self-released 7"� and a mini LP to their name, and into cult legend. Return to Last Chance Saloon contains both the Last Chance Saloon mini-LP and the Warehouse Sound single as well as 3 unreleased demo recordings. This compilation also features a 16 page booklet and a download card including the LP and 7 alternate versions." - Acute.
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