The brilliantly titled: TO THE OUTSIDE OF EVERYTHING continues Cherry Red’s equally wonderful series of invaluable histories. This time round tackling, or rather defining Post Punk. The tempting question here is about whether it was really just Punk after all. The ‘Post’ bit a journalist tag line applied to sell the repackage while continuing our national obsession with labelling everything that moves – look at the subdivision (monetization) of Dance Music during the 90’s. Punk was an umbrella term covering a wide variety of causes, stance and styles and subsequently that D.I.Y attitude remained intact, as did that sense of independent, non-conforming spirit. Maybe even more intensified as a reaction after the blatant commercialisation of Punk itself. Although, of course, everything boils right down to the music. Which in this case is so blindingly excellent that it still sounds and feels highly-charged, excitement-personified dragging you back to when possibilities seemed endless. Evolving from the breath of what was essentially the sneer of high-energy Rock n Roll bands felt free to do things that contradicted the original medium – thank god. All that Sid Vicious stood for, was, in the end, vacuous and meaningless (cheap swastika included). But on a more positive note there are five CD’s here to truly indulge yourself. Starting with Ultravox is most fitting as the fiery music feels and smells very much like Punk, thrashy guitars and shouty attitude, but underneath the sound of something else is happening – people are thinking. Besides all that strumming you will also find the early-ish strains of electronic music in the UK from the likes of Throbbing Gristle and The Human League. And as time moved on so did the incorporation of distant influences allowing room for manoeuvre showcased by the diversity of Echo & The Bunnymen, Poison Girls, Joy Division, The The, plus The Associates. So as you can see it covers the full spectrum and beyond. Then there’s The Slits and proceeding onto the liquid funk (not a term) of New Asia, 23 Skidoo, and Biting Tongues on CD five while finally reaching the destination outlined by This Heat who end with Radio Prague. At a time when lots of things all seemed to happen at once, colliding headlong, maybe you can indeed learn from history taking on board such a wealth of ideas. And maybe if you take time to look below the surface then that is exactly what is still happening today.
PS. Neil Taylor provides 48 pages of sleeve notes. So expect to have your horizons expanded and informed further.
Release: December 1