Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
I FINALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT HOMOSEXUALS….The early 1980s British DIY art-punk band THE HOMOSEXUALS that is. A while back I put out a plea on this site for some validation on their worthiness, given that I hadn’t heard them. I figured that since it was Johan Kugelburg who made such a big deal about them in UGLY THINGS, there was perhaps some room for doubt. JD was kind enough to make me a 2xCD-R of their archival “Homosexuals Story” so I could render an opinion. Here it is: I’m kind of into ‘em. The more aggro tracks pick up where ADAM & THE ANTS left off on “Dirk Wears White Sox” (a good record, if you ask me) and move more toward the SWELL MAPS zone. There are some real neat, sharp shocks of guitar and absolutely jarring falsetto vocals, and it becomes obvious quite early that this is a real band made up of musos who know how to play. The experimental ones – and there are many – veer off into relatively interesting dub or fake jazz, as well as into some not-so-interesting noodling of no particular regard.

I will say that while no single song on the 52-track bonanza grabs me especially hard, it’s more the feel of the thing that’s worthy of at least some degree of your attention. You have to be a pretty big cheerleader for the whole early 80s post-punk UK DIY thing, though, and ready to carry water for a decided underdog, because this is strictly third tier rock and roll when compared to the real European “new wave” giants of the day (all of whom are far more famous; you know, your FALLs and GANG OF FOURs, your YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS and your KLEENEXs and the like). Disc One is all Homosexuals material, while Disc Two sifts through side projects and pals like SIR ALECK & THE PHRASER, SARAH GOES POP (a couple real good ones there like the buoyant “Arab U Harab”), GEORGE HARASSMENT and NANCY SESAR & THE MELODIARES (unlistenable). Qualms aside, it’s something the public needs to hear & they’re a good addition to the canon.