Strangely enough, the first thing that comes to mind when listening to Kevin Dunn is just how quintessentially English he sounds – Brian Eno, Wire, TV Personalities – that kind of English. What a surprise then to read the sleeve notes and find out that he actually comes from Atlanta, Georgia. Having known the name but somehow missed out on the music at the time, this compilation of his output from 1979 to 1985 fills me in with just what I missed out on… which is actually quite a lot.
The centrepiece of the anthology is the complete 1981 album The Judgement of Paris which, due to the destruction of the original master tapes in a fire, has had to be meticulously reconstructed from the original multi-track, using an original vinyl copy as reference to avoid any temptation to ‘improve’ the mix. The resulting mix sounds reassuringly very much of its time.
Had I heard this album in 1981, it would surely have been a big favourite – sharp and quirky lo-fi songs laid down with the urgency of the time using primitive drum machines and dry multi-tracking… imagine if Peter Hammill had roped in Swell Maps to back him (and co-write the songs) on The Future Now back in 1978 (actually… thinking about it, why didn’t he?). A witty and infectious album that shows that there were also people on that side of the Atlantic in 1981 who were listening to This Heat’s Deceit in preference to Rush’s Moving Pictures. The remainder of the CD is made up from a 1984 EP C’est Toujours la Même Guitare, and some tracks from the 1985 LP Tanzfeld both of which are slightly watered-down in a post Booji-Boy Devo type way, and a couple of 7” releases from 1979 which are quite charming and include quite respectable covers of “Louie Louie” and Chuck Berry’s “Nadine.”
No Great Lost comes with extensive and informative sleeve notes by Mr Dunn himself and is an invaluable souvenir of that small corner of Georgia that will forever be Ladbroke Grove. Highly recommended to anyone whose idea of perfect pop includes Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy) and Chairs Missing.