A great introduction.
Barry Offwhite | Antarctica | 10/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'd always been curious about Pere Ubu. I'd always heard them namedropped along with bands such as Mission Of Burma and Gang Of Four, and I was well acquainted with Claw Hammer's amazing version of the Ubu classic "Final Solution," but it took me years to finally pick up one of their releases, due to their long, varied, and wildly inconsistent back catalog.Fortunately, "Terminal Tower" captures Ubu in their earliest, best stages, what I like to refer as "the Pink Floyd that doesn't suck." The first three songs show Pere Ubu as a brilliantly skewed rock band. "Heart Of Darkness" is Mission Of Burma a half-decade earlier, "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" is a slow, methodical song that unravels over the course of six-and-a-half minutes, with a haunting paranoid vocal softly intoning lyrics about suicide bombers that are still chilling 25 years later (especially with the recent events in Afganistan) set to a droning Sabbath-esque fuzz guitar riff. "Final Solution" is a classic, anthemic hard rock song buried under a ton of guitar weirdness. It's not hard to see why bands like Claw Hammer, The Pagans, and Gaunt have all decided to do their own version of this song.From there the mood lightens a bit, with Pere Ubu doing a few bouncy, yet equally absurd pop tunes. Dave Thomas almost evokes an eccentric, white Wilson Pickett on "Untitled," warbling "The Modern Dance...it goes like this!" Elsewhere "My Dark Ages" is Pere Ubu's claustrophobic take on disco, while "Heaven" could best be decribed as futuristic reggae, almost like Peter Tosh with whooshing spaceship noises in the background.Here it is, the damaged, manic-depressive sound of Pere Ubu at it's most accessible without sacrificing it's crooked, quirky edge. Thusly, "Terminal Tower" is regarded as one the group's few essential releases, where the strangeness of the arrangements adds to the the greatness of the songs, rather than detracting from them."
PROMISE OF GENIUS
Pieter | Johannesburg | 12/27/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The promise of genius certainly shines through on these early tracks, but I was a little disappointed as this album does not quite have that hypnotic quality of, for example Dub Housing, where they create such exquisite sound sculptures on the synthesizer in a thoroughly rock idiom.Heart Of Darkness and 30 Seconds over Tokyo reveal their garage roots, but they really soar on Final Solution with its nervous buildup, beautiful melody and rousing conclusion. Of the rest, I love Heaven with its swaying reggae rhythm, droning bursts of synth and jangling guitars, and the quirky pop song Happy.Although the roots of their later masterpieces are evident here, it's still in a raw form and based on the guitar, predating their later exploration of the synth/industrial style where they found their true voice."