Map 71 – Void Axis

map 71It is 1984 and I have been introduced to Anne Clark by our local college radio station. It is my first time. Her Croydon accent punches its way through stabs of analogue synthesizer. If I am her target (oh, if only), then her aim is true. I am transfixed. She sounds smart and beautiful and perfectly English. In 1984, these are the three most important things in the world to me.

Clark is now remembered as a seminal avant-gardist of the period. Her Pressure Points – released in 1985 and featuring former Ultravox front-man John Foxx – offered the radio-friendly “Heaven.” But a dust up with Richard Branson meant the cancellation of a U.S. tour, and any chance of mass appeal.

Fast forward three and a half decades, and Map 71 lands in my in-box with album number four: Void Axis. How have I missed this? Brighton’s Lisa Jayne (poetry and voice) and Andy Pyne (drums and electronics) are their own brand of smart, beautiful and perfectly English. It is 2018, and I am 17 again.

“We recognize our dancing partners. And like deviants left behind in the blitz, we never felt so alive.”

I wish I could write like that.

“I had favourite shops. I never bought anything. Some places were way out of my league. I’d go in wearing cheap market T-shirts I’d messed around with and pretend I didn’t like the colour of a dress that cost a week’s wages.”

She is every wonderful girl I went to high school with.

Pyne, on the other hand, is every wonderful guy I wish I was in high school. As if Jayne’s words aren’t sufficiently dramatic, his soundtracks are brutalism come to life. When she talks about bombs, he sounds like an ambulance. When she talks about sex, he sounds like Times Square in its pre-Giuliani heyday.

“Their x-ray eyes make me wish this didn’t always look like my first time.”

More more more.

Kevin Press

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