New Musical Express
Dele Fadele

Publication Date:
23rd August 1986


THEIR TIME, like the strained smile on celibacy's face, is desperately short. Like the tame, trained. caged bear all their disregard is now marshmallow; their mouths don't have the proper shape for prophecies. No longer “dropping storm-troops behind enemy lines in Time”. Misnomer are presently a Theatre without plot. 'theme, narrative or characterisation. an Orchestra sanely conducted by some stuffed-shirt malcontent., unconcerted curators quite happy to repackage the avant-garde for easy consumption and smother all experience into a symmetric-al, homogenous whole.
What experience?…it's all pre-prog-rammed, pre-recorded. pre-packaged. pre-dissolved and as removed from hyp-er-real life as any dictator: watch four guitarists throttle Peter Gunn'. three backing vocalists beat Andrew Sisters wings, or numberless sessioneers fill space and struggle against the backing tape's stranglehold. Grimace while they take after-song bows. Fidget in lieu of yet another drawn-out. well-arranged opus – ‘movements' like those of disease, work, poverty and religion; something to suffer, an excuse for failure, a justification for nothing.
And why should they be blown away like chaff in the wind? Once Upon A… 'Beatbox ' was a revelation: Sly Stone sampled ("Bop-du-dup-du-buum"). ske-wered, and tarred with High-Art dilent-tantism (small wonder Urban USA fell at the first bell)… tonight it's a Yessong, refracting Misnomer’s relationship with technology - like wandering salespeople testling out new vacuum cleaners, they lead us into the intricacies of two-grand Fairlights but the end result is less Duane Eddy, Television or Musicology than alphabet blocks, loss of meaning.
The disconcerting thing is: these are the established controllers of new-pop strategies; the cutting edge; the dream image as fetish. Ann Dudley and J J Jeczailk, when not recast as dabbling jazzers or smart classicists (?). help make the objects of popular culture competitive by producing, programming and adding a dash of faked-art. It is their principal function - though hardly their avowed purpose - to stem off new unrests by endlessly imitating, though never learning from, yesterday's mistakes - where their efforts, like those tonight, “lack finish complexity, stasis, individuality, coherence, depth and endurance”.
Make no concession to this triumph of skill over all; gauchery over ineptitude – it’s kiss-off time.

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