Pere Ubu: Mayo Thompson (vocals, guitar, piano); David Thomas (vocals, organ, drums); Scott Krauss (horn, piano, drums, drum machine); Tony Maimone (piano, bass, organ); Allen Ravenstine (synthesizer).
Personnel: Scott Krauss (horns, piano, drums, drum machine); Tony Maimone (piano, organ); Allen Ravenstine (synthesizer).
As out-there as Pere Ubu's early singles like "Heart of Darkness" and first couple of albums were, they were still recognizable as rock & roll, however warped. By the time of their fourth album, 1981's THE ART OF WALKING, however, all traces of the group's early proto-punk sound had been sublimated into something else entirely. Less sonically aggressive than before, though still challenging ("Lost in Art" is as noisy as anything the band ever did), the 12 songs on THE ART OF WALKING show the growing influence of Pere Ubu's newest member, Mayo Thompson.
Thompson, the Texas-bred leader of the Red Krayola, favors difficult but occasionally oddly soothing soundscapes, and his more gentle musical sense displaces a lot of leader David Thomas' sonic aggression, making THE ART OF WALKING simultaneously more inviting and more opaque than any of Ubu's earlier work. It's a challenge, but it's worth it.
Q (1/00, p.140) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...delves deep into their experimental side....equal parts marvellous and maddening, a loping, meandering affair on the edge of improvisation..."
Alternative Press (4/00, pp.95-6) - 4 out of 5 - "...a meditative album....David Thomas' vocals sound alternately frantic and depressed....This disc is an essential purchase, but they're definitely not dancefloor or party fodder."
The Wire (4/00, p.63) - "...[A] scattered affair, with chaos threatening at every turn....Singer David Thomas seems to enjoy the collapsing arrangements....giving off the strong, oily whiff of a long night in the Ubu practice space..."