Psychic TV - Reissues album review

Reissues of Genesis P-Orridge’s post-Throbbing Gristle outfit

cover art for pagan day

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Initially revolving around the core of Genesis P-Orridge and Alternative TV’s Alex ‘no, not that one’ Fergusson, Psychic TV moved away from the sonic extremism of Throbbing Gristle in a more song structured direction, although deeply subversive intentions always lurked at their core.

Pagan Day feels like an attempt to revisit the strange gardens of the late 1960s, not very fashionable in 1984 – a lo-fi, bucolic, hazily psychedelic cover of Pearls Before Swine’s Translucent Carriages particularly feels like it’s channeling the spirit of Syd Barrett. These are winsomely fragile, tentative affairs, which would later evolve in a live setting. Baby’s Gone Away, which sounds like a Velvet Underground pastiche, is here sketched on guitar and organ, demo-style.

By the time of 1988’s Allegory And Self, neo-psychedelia was increasingly the rage. Godstar celebrates the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, whose death in 1969 makes him a symbol of a decade forever gone, a creature of a spirit world. Elsewhere, on She Was Surprised and Ballet Disco, Psychic TV venture tentatively into the reams of acid-style electronics, as if to note that the times were coming full circle and an old English counterculture was rising again.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.