KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

Simmons, Desmond – “Alone On Penguin Island” – [Wmo]

Max Level   5/28/2012   A Library, CD

Punk-damaged British art rock circa 1979-81. The music is minimal and repetitive with vocalist/guitarist Simmons sort of chant-singing. He’s not doing anything groundbreaking here, but if you liked Wire’s (and Colin Newman’s) early work as I did, you will no doubt find this worth a few spins. The Wire connection is too big to overlook–Newman and his fellow conductors Robert Gotobed, Bruce Gilbert, and Graham Lewis were collaborators, though not all at the same time. Most of the tracks are 1981 studio recordings supervised by Gilbert and Lewis, and I’m not clear on who the players are–unless I’m missing something, no musicians are listed. The drumming on a few tracks sounds Gotobed-ish (yay, a new word!) so I’m guessing it’s him; it could be Simmons playing everything else or maybe Gilbert and Lewis lent a hand. Toward the end of the CD there are several previously unreleased live tracks by three different groups he was involved with, and the musicians are credited on those. The title track is an eerie instrumental.

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