Alien Sex Fiend ‘Best Of’ (Anagram/Cherry Red)
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Back in December 2012 John Robb wrote about a neu-Goth revival (LTW) and highlighted bands such as Crossover, Toy, Mt. Sims, Horrid Red and Night Sins; Many of these artists have cited bands such as Killing Joke, Southern Death Cult and Bauhaus as influence – one band regularly passed over in terms of acknowledged influence are Alien Sex Fiend whose ‘Best Of’ has just been re-released, we took a listen to see if this lack of recognition was justified.

First off, this album is actually a collection of the bands singles from their ‘Ignore The Machine’ debut in August 1983 up to ‘Evolution’ in February 1986, quite why it is titled a Best Of is beyond me, and implies that the bands most creative period is way behind them.

John Robb was right when he described the original scene as being huge, he was also correct when he stated that the term ‘goth’’ was largely a mass media invention, those involved initially went under the banner of positive punk – Alien Sex Fiend however appeared to have taken all the media ‘goth’ clichés and appropriated each and every one of them appearing at gigs and in artwork with whitened skin, black make-up, dried blood and so on; as an 17/18yr old still coming to terms with the impact of Joy Division, not to mention the loss of Ian Curtis I was frankly put off by the theatrics, I do however recall hearing album opener ‘Ignore The Machine’ for the first time, we had travelled to London to The Batcave – the temple of all things ‘goth’ and from the speakers crawled that weird mash up of Rolf Harris, electronics, a pummeling beat, and a deadpan vocal delivery all of which was produced by Youth (Killing Joke), the links with Youth reach further back to when Nik Fiend was member of The Demons who released a full length cassette also produced by Youth. ‘Ignore The Machine’ was a huge success, rightly so – to this day the sparse sounds, the brooding rumblings retain a spark, the follow-up ‘Lips Can’t Go’ also plundered lyrics from popular songs “Coming to carry me home…” and continued in the post punk primitive electronic vein which clearly drew upon the influence of bands like Suicide but added a dollop of schlock horror humour to the dour proceedings.

Sections of the press despised them, Melody Maker stated “I doubt that I’ve heard anything uglier in the name of music” – ASF didn’t give a damn and delved deeper into cheap Alice Cooper style horror mixed with electro-psychadelia, churning out a total of 10 Independent Chart hits all included here.

 

‘E.S.T’ (the world’s first 11” single’), the banned ‘Smells Like…’ well if you will house your records in a cover featuring a steaming pile of dog shit!! The band’s sound developed across releases like ‘Dead And Buried’ which drew upon a primitive psychobilly beat, to ‘I’m Doing Time’ built around an almost dub pattern with heavy metal guitar riffs, the strangest cover of Red Crayola’ ‘Hurricane Fighter Plane’ you are likely to come across; the Fiends were obviously keeping a close (dead) eye upon other musical developments, as by the time ‘The Impossible Mission’ was released they had clearly mastered the art of utilising movie dialogue within their material; ‘Stuff The Turkey’ must surely be the only recorded song to use Bernard Mathews “Bootiful” catchphrase as its opening, the hugely successful ‘Now I’M Feeling Zombified’ – strip away the gravel voiced lyrics and you have the foundations of many a rave track, same with the appropriately titled ‘Evolution’ which features a base rhythm early techno labels such as Slammin Vinyl used de rigour; the nearest comparison would be Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’ such was the distance Alien Sex Fiend had travelled from their inception.

The CD features a pull out double sided poster collage of original press cuttings from the band’s Batcave beginnings up to ‘Evolution’, including chart positions and original advertisements, with photos and Nik Fiend original art plus a full discography – it is chronological snap-shot of a critically derided and ignored band, but a band that garnered a huge worldwide following which continues to this day. If you have ever had an interest in ‘goth’ then Alien Sex Fiend with their tongues placed firmly in their hollowed cheeks are worthy of your attention.

Track list:

Ignore the Machine
Lips Can’t Go
R.I.P. (Blue Crumb Truck)
New Christian Music
Dead and Buried
E.S.T. (Trip to the Moon)
I’m Doing Time in a Maximum Security Twilight Home
I Walk the Line
Smells Like…
Hurricane Fighter Plane
The Impossible Mission
Here Cum Germs
Stuff The Turkey
Now I’m Feeling Zombiefied
Evolution

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.

1 COMMENT

  1. I wish they had included the electrode mix of Ignore The Machine on this compilation. I discovered A.S.F from going to alternative nights in Birmingham, the electrode mix was always a dance floor filler and usually played back to back with Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s Sex Bomb Boogie. Dead & Buried was always popular and sometimes you would hear R.I.P and Now I’m Feeling Zombified. Happy days and night service bus home!

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