Imagine how it would be to be cool like Velvet Underground or JAMC? Imagine how it would be to be even cooler than that!! If you can do that you probably already know about The 39 Clocks and if you can't then you really need to because this band turned cool into an art form.
This box set contains two studio albums, two collections of outtakes, leftovers and rarities and a previously unreleased live LP. The two albums in question are debut "Pain It Dark" and follow up "Subnarcotic".
"Pain It Dark" has been hailed as a masterpiece of German rock but frankly why stop there? I think it would stand up pretty well against anything from any era, anywhere. The title alone pretty much stomps all over Mick Jagger's pretty boy antics.
"Subnarcotic" gives it a damn good run for its money. Tracks like "Dom (Electricity Elects The Rain)" bring the Suicide influences to the fore, "Rainy Night Insanities" is an avant garde classic and "Psychotic Louie Louie" is a brilliant cover.
It is a disparate yet unified collection of songs and you can imagine they had a blast doing it whilst simultaneously being cool, miserable and thoroughly obnoxious. Let's not forget that this is a band who were regularly booed off stage for being "barely tolerable".
Which brings me to the live LP. It is resolutely lo-fi, covered in tape hiss and clearly not well attended but nevertheless the music shines through. The outtakes only add to their mystique and thankfully a lot of repetition has been avoided so they really are extras! The song titles themselves hint at the brilliance within. "Progress Of A Psychotic", "Your Prick Makes Me Sick", "Art Minus Idiots", "You Can't Count the Bombs (it's zero)" and "Shake Ghaddafi's Blues" tells me they knew the importance of a good title and by extension what they were doing. Posterity and all that.
This is a superlative box set (I can't judge the physical) from a fantastic band. Stupid Art? Yes indeed.