Radioactive Sparrow – Burpt Perhaps (1984)
The first true classic album was recorded at the end of ’83 and beginning o ’84. There was this idea that each member of the band should be the ‘celebrity’ whose ego would inflate the band’s name to include their possessive. It didn’t last as an idea beyond this album – ‘Dai Cox’s Radioactive Sparrow.’ But it meant that Cox was designated lead singer. And how. First off was to set up a system where Dai could drum and sing at the same time, plugging a mic into a 5 watt amp that was then placed by the Panasonic. It’s a system the band would use for many years, especially blending the amplified voice with another backing (fronting) vocal recorded up close and direct (heard here when Brooce enters on ‘Why Is Jon?’
Burpt Perhaps was so named for the totemic belching that ornaments each song at its climax, a flatulent framing device courtesy of Cox’s unique interpretation of the lead singer’s exaggerated self-importance. The album has many breakthrough moments: Bargefoot’s turntablism on ‘Psychedelic Capsule’ (a stone classic that has continued to appear on Best Of… compilations); live-burke xenochrony on ‘Day Of Stop Worship’; ‘Cavatina’ played in authentic ‘Kak’ tuning on ‘Absolute Gauls’; and, most importantly, the plunderphonic co-opting of Ceefax backing tracks for Dai’s star turns (‘Lost Love’, ‘Two For Tea’ etc.).
It’s hard to separate the thin, spiky post-punk grit of ‘Someone At The Door’ and the avant-anarchy of ‘Psychedelic Capsule’. Both songs got the band excited about what they could do, the latter they played backed umpteen times collapsing in laughter and lurid self-congratulation, Cox’s closing burps certainly teaching Bono and them a thing or two.
This was the last album made as school kids. The Spring and Summer of ’84 saw a lot of time spent studying, humping, partying, and Bargefoot spent his savings on a Tascam 244. By the time they reconvened in the Autumn, the band would have a new sense of purpose and identity…
PLUS Niklus on ‘Day of Stop Worship’
Recorded at the Old Mill (Shed, Dining Room, Study) December ’83 and January ’84.
1) Someone At The Door
2) Why Is Jon?
4) Psychedelic Capsule
5) Day Of Stop Worship
6) Lost Love
7) Two For Tea
8) Headache Aspirin Advert
9) Fuckin’ Tog
10) Lavatory Music
11) Nohme Canabis
12) Somewhere In Summer
14) Absolute Gauls