"...Rumours have been dripping down from Scotland about a diverse horde of determined post Skids / S. Minds / Scars groups all ready to shift our attention. Positive Noise, Altered Images, JosefK, Orange Juice . . . the newest rumours centred around The Associates, who it seems were refining the vision of 'Station To Station', who it seems had a singer who sang like that particular Bowie. He wasn't copying, that's how he really sang - from deep inside, neo-operatically (...) The Associates have things in common with Magazine worth talking about. That European feel for a start, which basically stems from their liberating remoteness from standard r'n'r influences: the logic and out of the blue maturity of their sound: a Kurt Weill caught up with John Barry cabaret tension: and a respect for the irrational. Billy Mackenzie is vocally reminiscent of Bowie: but Bowie has never sung with so much delightful range and subtlety, never really had to. Mackenzie's soul singing is in the pained, proud tradition of Holiday and Garland. He'd be comfortable and do a great job singing 'Windmills Of My Mind' (he almost does on 'Even Dogs In The Wild'). An artist at communication, he takes intense care over enunciation - the shape of words and the space between them. His vocals are either a folly or something very special: I reckon a little of the former, a lot of the latter.The Associates sound is somewhere between evocative Cure and dramatic Magazine: a passionate cabaret soul music, a fulfillment of the European white dance music Bowie was flirting with back then. It is a fabulist (as opposed to surrealist) entertainment vitiated by a cool sense of art. Don't look for message or moral - the songs affect a dreamlike incompleteness but are not unprincipled or uncaring. They develop an account of the various mechanisms by which people remain trapped in boredom, abstraction, essence. With Mackenzie's obsessive flamboyance, the invariably plangent melodies, the richly fragmented detail of the songs, The Associates are undoubtedly theatrical. But their sense of theatre is natural, even profound, not the usual pop flash-trivia. The Associates are real performers"... Paul Morley (NME) 1980
DsorDNE - t.r.i.p.
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