Pere Ubu, Elitism For The People 1975-1978 - Album review

Download: Non-Alignment Pact; Street Waves; Humor Me; 30 Seconds Over Tokyo; Navvy; Dub Housing

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The Independent Culture

Comprising remastered vinyl reissues of Pere Ubu’s first two epochal albums The Modern Dance and Dub Housing, an album of early singles, and a 1977 live show, this may be the most unlikely heritage-rock box set ever released.

Never knowingly concerned with currying artistic or commercial favour – the box’s prominent slogan design (“We sell soul like it’s a Popeil Veg-O-Matic”) sneeringly bellows as much – they seem almost annoyed with having hit a certain avant-rock target so unerringly, so long ago.

This set is testament to a contrarian success, which combined industrial menace with cartoonish bathos – the latter residing mainly in the helium squeak of David Thomas’s vocals, which conveyed corners of emotions rarely encountered in pop. Four decades on, it sounds as revolutionary as ever.