Pere Ubu: Lady From Shanghai

Post-punk vets offer up a thoroughly modern dance.

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Much like Radiohead’s recent excursions into hyper-real electronica, Pere Ubu are taking it to the dancefloor for their first album in three years.

Though of course David Thomas’s merry experimentalists have been at this sort of thing for the best part of 40 years now, subverting the norms of pop music by mapping out an alternate world where great art is fashioned from chaos and discord.

Rhythm is king here, with Neu!-like synths creating a bed over which Thomas’s nagging voice cavorts like a good ’un, dipping in and around sheets of fractured noise and songs that pay little heed to old-hat notions of verse-chorus-verse.

At times, as on the siren squeal of And Then Nothing Happened, it can get too dissonant for its own good. But mostly it’s an invigorating set that sounds, like a cubist marriage of King Of Limbs and Eno & Byrne’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.