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Stateless - Big Self
Re-mastered and released on CD, it serves as a timely reminder of the band's distinctive brand of hard-edged, melodic dance-pop
Colm O Hare, 26 Apr 2002
One of the most highly-rated Irish outfits of the early to mid 1980s, Belfast band Big Self garnered widespread praise, especially in the UK inkies where they were unanimously feted. Unfortunately they never matched critical acclaim with commercial success and eventually went the way of dozens of other like-minded contenders of the era.
Luck and timing wasn’t exactly on their side either. Stateless, their long-playing debut was recorded in the winter of ‘83/’84, the release delayed until early 1985 due to the collapse of their distribution company. Now re-mastered and released on CD, it serves as a timely reminder of the band’s distinctive brand of hard-edged, melodic dance-pop.
The single, ‘Ghost Shirts’ will be familiar to some as the theme for the Dave Fanning-hosted RTE programme Visual Eyes. Bearing the sonic hallmarks of the period i.e. a big, widescreen sound and plenty of reverb on the vocals, booming drums, clipped rhythm guitars and anthemic vocals make this arguably their finest hour. ‘Vision’ recalled Orange Juice’s ‘Rip it Up’ with its syncopated grooves, while their second single ‘Don’t Turn Around’ (awarded Single of the Year in Sounds magazine) sounds as fresh and exuberant as it did back then.
Other highlights on this welcome re-issue include, ‘Reason Smiles’, the funked-up dance movements on ‘Weeding Out’ and bombastic Simple Minds like textures on ‘Killing Brother’.
Memories are made of this.