Sunday, November 26, 2006

Jukebox Juicebox #23

One Dove “Morning Dove White” (1993)
Pure and simple, one of the great lost bands and underrated albums of the 1990s. On paper, it’s hard to see how One Dove could fail. Their blend of dub-driven club-friendly pop, shaped by Dot Allison’s breathless vocals, caught the attention of Andrew Weatherall, whose own Sabres Of Paradise remixes gave the band an added dancefloor cachet. Getting Weatherall on board to produce One Dove’s debut album was an astute move, given his infleunce on Primal Scream’s seminal Screamadelica, but seemingly at odds with the sound presented through their singles. Whilst the 12” mixes continued to aim for the heart of the dancefloor, including jaw dropping reworkings of White Love and Breakdown by Slam and Secret Knowledge (aka Kris Needs) respectively, Stephen Hague and William Orbit delivered more homogenised mixes for radio airplay. The latter takes toned down the bass and left Allison’s occasionally weak vocals too exposed. On this basis, hardly a great incentive to buy the album. But Morning Dove White remains one of Weatherall’s finest achievements and only hints at what this Scottish trio could have achieved had they not been drained by record industry politics. The vinyl version spread tracks 1-9 over four sides of vinyl, but in fact the CD provides the most complete listening experience. The version of Fallen which opens the album is breathtaking and complements Weatherall’s ten-minute remix of White Love. The producer’s influence threatens to subsume the band’s identity only once, with instrumental My Friend sounding more like a Sabres of Paradise outtake rather than One Dove. There Goes The Cure and Why Don’t You Take Me provide the album’s most downtempo moments. The latter at times evokes Black’s maudlin classic Wonderful Life and showcases Dot Allison’s reflective songwriting, developed to great effect on her two subsequent solo albums. Provided you skip Stephen Hague’s ‘radio mixes’ of Breakdown and White Love, both thoughtlessly tacked onto the end of the CD, I challenge you not to fall in love with Morning Dove White after a single listen. If you don’t, then check your pulse, because I suspect you may be dead.

Tracklisting: 1. Fallen / 2. White Love (guitar paradise mix) / 3. Breakdown (cellophone boat mix) / 4. There Goes The Cure / 5. Sirens / 6. My Friend / 7. Transient Truth / 8. Why Don’t You Take Me / 9. White Love (piano reprise) / 10. Breakdown (radio mix) / 11. White Love (radio mix)

One Dove fan site
Dot Allison offical website
Andrew Weatherall's Rotters Golf Club website

The Human League “Reproduction” (1979)
Like most people of my age, my introduction to The Human League was through Smash Hits (RIP), Top Of The Pops (RIP) and their genre defining album Dare (still going strong). I remember being fascinated by (and equally squeamish about) the striking cover to this, their first album proper, when seeing it stacked in HMV. This may account for the reason why it took me the best part of a decade to listen to Reproduction and a further fifteen years to buy a copy. The first thing to strike me is what a bloody good record it is. Built around the core of Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware (who went on to form Heaven 17), Phil Oakey and Philip Adrian Wright, the album’s layered electronic sound lays the foundations for both The Human League’s own subsequent material and the synth pop revolution. This is particularly evident in Empire State Human (which should have been a massive hit) and their cover of The Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. This reissue doubles the original album’s number of tracks, notably with the original single version of Being Boiled (subsequently sampled by Richard X) and The Dignity Of Labour Parts 1-4, replete with the bonus Flexi Disc issued with limited copies of the 12” EP. The latter is an extract from the band’s conversation about what to put on the flexi disc in the first place and makes for hilarious listening. These days, The Human League may be earning a crust from touring their early 1980s heyday but both this and follow-up album Travelogue are a testament to the band’s groundbreaking songwriting.

Tracklisting: 1. Almost Medieval / 2. Circus Of Death / 3. The Path Of Least Resistance / 4. Blind Youth / 5. The Word Before Last / 6. Empire State Human / 7. Morale... You've Lost That Loving Feeling / 8. Austerity / Girl One (medley) / 9. Zero As A Limit / 10. Introducing / 11. The Dignity Of Labour Part 1 / 12. The Dignity Of Labour Part 2 / 13. The Dignity Of Labour Part 3 / 14. The Dignity Of Labour Part 4 / 15. Flexi Disc / 16. Being Boiled (fast version) / 17. Circus Of Death (fast version)

There are loads of Human League fan sites worth a look, including:
Secrets Online
Blind Youth (specifically covering their 1977-1980 material)

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