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Essential Logic
FANFARE IN THE GARDEN: AN ESSENTIAL LOGIC COLLECTION
(Kill Rock Stars)
Stars graphics

When back in 1976 15-year-old Londoner Susan Whitby rechristened herself Lora Logic and joined her friend Marion "Poly Styrene" Elliot to form X-Ray Spex, her rudimentary saxophone squalls on the bandís incendiary debut single, "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!", represented an early expansion of punkís parameters. When she then left the band, following her own muse to Essential Logic, she blew the doors wide open. Squeaking and squawking, honking and skronking over an iron-clad lockgroove and tightly coiled guitars, she produced a complex strain of danceable, dissonant agit-pop. And her voice was as expressive as her sax, leaping registers from falsetto incantations to deep, guttural babble, melodious sing-song giving way to abrasive sprechgesang. Her delivery was feral ó and sometimes a little frightening.

But as explosive and innovative as Essential Logic were, their releases were often hard to find. Thatís why this two-disc collection (with liner notes by Greil Marcus) is an invaluable artifact, as important a post-punk resurrection as the Kleenex/Liliput collection that Kill Rock Stars put out three years ago. The first disc is the more thrilling, covering most of the bandís prime between í78 and í82. "Quality Crayon Wax O.K." does a punky Saint Vitusís dance in a maelstrom of angular sax trills and belligerent bass. "Wake Up" rides a deadly riff over a relentless rhythmic onslaught, Logic squeaking and squealing and baying along with her horn. "Brute Fury" tightens up from jaunty free jazz to a slinky death disco. Although many of the tracks from í91 through í98 on disc two are adventuresome and compelling, few approach the visceral punch of the early days. Typical of the best is the fluttery, frenetic "Born in Flames," from Logicís brief stint with Mayo Thompson and Epic Soundtracks in Red Crayola.

BY MIKE MILIARD


Issue Date: January 2 - 8, 2004
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