Howard Devoto | West Bridgeford, Nottingham | 12/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Devoto's Magazine was clearly progressively ahead of all British and American contemporary prog-rockers in its day. They effortlessly placed abstract musical concepts alongside Devoto's signature mordant wit. When 'The Correct Use Of Soap' was first released, it was not the blatant commercial compromise that some deaf rock critics have incorrectly suggested. Rather, it just wasn't as 'clanky' as their two previous efforts and therefore more spinnable for radio. 'TCUOS' was a tentative step in the direction of new-wave that the post-punk/prog-rockers were at the time taking. Only Magazine took each step fitted in avant-garde shoes. Each individual song on 'TCUOS' has its own stark merits from the next. 'Model Worker' sounds like a Pere Ubu that's not afriad to get its lyrical wires crossed. 'Because Your Frightened' unquestionably exemplified avant-punk even better than Wire of Gang of Four did. 'Philadelphia' sounds like a more subdued (but brainier) Jesus Lizard. Magazine is without a doubt the greatest band of all time. Sure, there are a bunch of overpaid charlatans posing as music critics who have led you to falsely believe otherwise all these years. Because they share this opinion collectively, I refuse to acknowledge any of them as members of the human race. Anyone who has heard this band's recordings surely must concur. If not, they must fall in the same catagory. Magazine remains to this day an undiscovered gem even in a time when Nick Drake has been culled out of the archives. There's absolutely no excuse for that. Do yourself a favour and purchase Magazine's first four LP's whilst you're still alive. You won't regret it. As for all these critics who have kept you in the dark all this time, I will personally pay each and every one a visit to give them a Singapore caning to the face."
Another masterpiece from Northern England
B. Fulton | The Great American West | 12/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oasis, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, The Buzzcocks, Gang of Four, The Charlatans UK, The La's. Any day now people will start writing doctoral dissertations about why the world's greatest rock bands have come from Manchester, Leeds, and Liverpool. Add to that list Magazine, perhaps the most criminally overlooked of all Manchester bands. "The Correct Use of Soap" is one sly, powerful left hook full of lyrical wordplay, frightfully intelligent arrangements, and stylish sentiment. If Nabokov had formed a rock band instead of writing novels, it might have sounded like this."
THE GENIUS OF DEVOTO
Pieter | Johannesburg | 05/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This third album by the legendary band Magazine is generally considered more accessible than Real Life or Second Hand Daylight. There's something almost classical in the arrangements and the playing although the music still has the punk edge, especially on songs like Because You're Frightened and Model Worker. You Never Knew Me with Laura Teresa's atmospheric backing vocals is particularly graceful and moving. Ever the poet, Devoto rhymes 'philadelphia' with 'healthier' on the song of that title. I Want To Be Burn Again has its eerie moments and the arrangement, especially the swirling cascading synths, reminds me of what Peter Murphy would do later in the eighties. The Sly Stone cover Thank You (Fallettin Be Mice Elf Agin) could probably be termed 'plastic funk' by analogy with David Bowie's plastic soul on Young Americans. But the highlight of the album for me remains the weird atmospheric Song From Under The Floorboards, an awesome number with mysterious hypnotic appeal. To me, it's on a par with Devoto's strange masterpiece called Rubbish on the Luxuria album. Devoto is a man of many talents but unfortunately not prolific enough. This album is therefore to be treasured."
The Correct Use of Music
Sandra Mandelis | 05/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are arguments over which is the best Magazine album: Real Life, Correct Use of Soap and some even go with Secondhand Daylight. The only reason that CUOS is the best is that it was the group's third album, and the result of three years of working together and perfecting the unique sound on 1978's Real Life.
CUOS does sound more commercial than its predecessors but it was simply the evolution of Magazine's sound. Bizarrely, it is their most uplifting album, but under the layers of bouncy pop sensibility (there's even a Sly and the Family Stone cover!) lurks the tortured soul of Howard Devoto, which was especially tortured by the death of his father at the time of its recording. Songs like "I'm A Party" and "Song From Under the Floorboards" revel in sardonic self-pity and hatred while "I Want To Burn Again", the obligatory break-up track, is a depressing-cause-it's-true piece that even veers into the edge of a love ballad, albeit Howard Devoto style.
Are you brave enough to correctly use the soap? You can dance to this record but you can also cry to it...maybe at the same time...how many do you have like THAT in your collection?"