Friday, November 27, 2009
London Calls Again
There's yet another legacy edition of "London Calling" coming, if it's not here already. Online magazine Quietus says something very perceptive about it:
However, the problem with London Calling is in its inconsistencies and incoherence. For what is seen as a "brave" album in the context of its time, there is little that links each track to the other in form and fluidity. The shuffling rigmarole of Vince Taylor's 'Brand New Cadillac', and the crapulous slur and turgid bass-walk of 'Jimmy Jazz', are only to be saved by the Bo Didley-like 'Hateful' at the start. It's the aural equivalent of a trifle: somewhat confused as to what it is, ingredients and influences have been thrown into a bowl with a lack of care and clarity, but a whole lot of enthusiasm that tries to cater for every taste.
"London Calling" is a sweeping, sometimes dated and occasionally ham-fisted attempt to say something to everyone. That's a strength and a flaw. I wonder if the Clash would have been given enough rope (sorry) to make an album like it in this era. They tried again with "Sandanista" and that time were found wanting.
There was something very exciting about hearing it at the time and even cultural rent boy Molly Meldrum's gibbering endorsement on Countdown (admit it - you watched it) couldn't spoil it entirely.
More of that review here.