Wammers Album Club Tue 2nd July - The The - Infected

Jason P

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Wammer
Aug 7, 2009
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AKA
Errr...Jason
This was a toughie for me - a choice between two great albums by an artist that for me defined an era in my life. I could barely choose between this and the subsequent album by Matt Johnson's The The - Mind Bomb - which for many is arguably the better album, playing then as he was with a proper band (featuring the genius Johnny Marr) rather than the assemblage of various musicians that populated his earlier works.

But 'Infected' was the album that got me well and truly hooked on The The, and for me it will always have a special place in my heart. It's release coincided with my staring studies at art college, and my musical tastes were expanding from my safe, middle-class upbringing at a rapid rate. 'Infected' fair ripped into my consciousness with it's musical power, raw unflinching lyrics and memorable imagery.

Released in 1986 it's synth-pop driven hooks belie the anger and frustration seething within. The album's protagonist - Johnson himself, or 'just a regular guy' as he refers in the songs, is in a state of breakdown - along with the society around him. It's impossible to listen to these songs without putting them into context of the politics of the time - Thatcherism and the 'me' generation, and Johnson, whilst not an overtly political writer, makes his feelings about the way the country (and the people in it) are heading perfectly clear. 'Heartland' is a withering attack on the urban decay of the time. Eerily prescient, it's as relevant today as it was then:

'This is the land where nothing changes, the land of red buses and blue blooded babies...

This is the place where pensioners are raped and the heart is being cut from the welfare state'

whilst 'Sweet Bird of Truth' tells the story of a fighter pilot's crisis of faith as he flies to the East to fight in an unnamed war:

'Should I cry like a baby or die like a man,

while all the planet's little wars start joining hands'

and his personal search for love and meaning amongst the sleaze of the city is brilliantly (and disturbingly) played out in 'Out Of the Blue (In To The Fire)'

'I was feeling strong mouthed and weak-willed, when I ran into the cure for my ills...

Dont tell me what your name is, I want your body not your mind,

I want a feeling worth paying for before I say goodbye...

But as I was talking, I couldn't look her in the eyes,

I just kept wondering how many men, unleashed their frustration between her thighs...'

It's very much an album of it's time - but is somehow timeless too. The topics Johnson addresses in his razor-sharp lyrics are ever-present, and may be more relevant now than ever, and the raw musical energy and ideas that burst through - even though they may sound a little overproduced and dated to our ears - still hook me in as a listener and don't let go till the album stops.

His follow up, Mind Bomb, is also worth checking out - it's like a more polished, mature sequel to this with many of the songs echoing this album. 'Armageddon Days' is a broader take on the state of the planet that harks back to 'Angels of Deception', 'Kingdom of Rain' is the break up that followed 'Slow Train to Dawn', and 'The Beaten Generation' addresses the youth of today wrought in the fires that spawned 'Heartland'. The two should be listened to as a pair really (and on one re-release they are) hence the hard choice; but faced with only one, the raw power of 'Infected' won out.

So links:

Spotify is an awkward one. They only have it as part of 'London Town 1983-1993', a collection of 4 albums before his move stateside. It's the second disc in the collection:

The The – London Town 1983-1993

Grooveshark link here

And finally, 'Infected' was one of the first albums that was released on video in it's entirely too. Although a little dated now - there was very basic video trickery to be had in 1986 - the visuals in many of the pieces are still stunning, particularly the opening track.

[video=youtube;orIy18qIaCU]


 
B

batman

Guest
Ooh good choice sir , I did a piece on " mind bomb " on this very forum a while back , it really is a stunning piece of work . As is this ... Thumbs up already from me ...

Remember watching the accompanying film to this late on channel 4 when it was released ..

You must be my age then fella. Early 40s ?

 
G

Guest

Guest
Is it an urban myth that the band have struggled due to their choice of name?

Summat about eBay's computer couldn't deal with the word "the" twice?

Good choice of album btw.

 

Jason P

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 7, 2009
927
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Somerset
AKA
Errr...Jason
Yup, 43 to be precise... and I remember the C4 screening too! Made me feel a bit old when I caught Newsnight a few months back and Matt Johnson was on it as a pundit... ho-hum!

- - - Updated - - -

Is it an urban myth that the band have struggled due to their choice of name?Summat about eBay's computer couldn't deal with the word "the" twice?

Good choice of album btw.
Dunno, but it's certainly hard to find them on Spotify or Grooveshark if you just type that in - ditto Google too, though it makes a better guess of it than most. I somehow think Mr Johnson would be quietly proud of that fact if it were true though...

 
M

MJ.

Guest
Great choice Err...Jason and IMHO definitely their best album.

This is the first album I put on whenever I change a bit of kit, not because it's particularly demanding or hi-fi, but because it is the album I know best. A real modern classic.

 

Badchilli

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 2, 2010
782
40
58
East Midlands
AKA
Graham
Exceptional choice will be playing my very worn vinyl bought on release day.

Like most of his work it sounds fresh every time you hear it

 

notaclue

Wammer
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Jul 20, 2005
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Duke of Steepletone
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Seems there are lots of fans for this. Not really a band I ever bothered with too much. I know lots by them but never bought anything.

The production is a bit clanky (is that a word?) and noisy in places, a bit 'kitchen sink' and dated sounding. Reminds me of Max Headroom.

But there's some really expansive, dramatic melodies in their work. Of course, the biggies like 'This is the day' and, on this, 'Sweet bird' and 'Slow train...'.

Letting this run, I especially like 'Good morning beautiful' which opens the next album. Excellent stuff. Not just the band name which reminds me of Talk Talk...

I will deffo have another listen, but I wouldn't share the idea that this album is a classic. It's a good album from its time, but not all of their 'sound' appeals to me.

 

unclepuncle

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Apr 11, 2007
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Northants
This was 'THE' album to have on your Walkman back in the 6th form. :cool:

Great track after great track (3-6 especially) with just the last couple seeing the quality diminish a touch. Definitley an all time 'classic' to my ears. :^

 

JVS

Wammer
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Aug 28, 2009
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Jim
Have to agree - a genius of an album which very much reflected the mood of the time.

I saw them perform Infected at the Albert Hall just a few months after they released it.

 
G

Guest

Guest
Soul Mining seems rather timid to this but a great album and massively underated artist

 
G

Guest

Guest
Listened to this last night and in my opinion its defintely a recording that favours vinyl .

 

rockmeister

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Jul 24, 2005
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John
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
cheers jason...dug it out, dusted it down, loved it, stuck it back.

It's a very 'of it's time alnum' but well worth owning.

Every home should have one. :)

 

Vinyl Art

Wammer
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Feb 13, 2010
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HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Great choice. Infected was my introduction to The The and was the soundtrack to part of my youth. I shall also be dusting off my copy for a listen tonight.

Cheers

bob

 

Ozexpat

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Wammer
Nov 16, 2009
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the brewhouse
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I guess you had to be there. It wasn't the sort of thing that I listened to very much at the time.

I don't hate it.

I just thought it was decent collection of toons.

Nothing special.

 

Bazzer

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 22, 2009
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HiFi Trade?
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cheers jason...dug it out, dusted it down, loved it, stuck it back.It's a very 'of it's time alnum' but well worth owning.

Every home should have one. :)
Its the first time I have heard it and it does sound very 80's, reminded me of INXS, if I had of bought it back then John's comment would probably apply but I'm afraid it didn't do much for me and was quite disappointed as I was hoping The The might have been a new find for me.

 

Leonard Smalls

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Aug 14, 2005
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Shropshire Borders,
It's a classic of it's genre and time.

But then so is Anal Witness IV, allegedly...

Back in the ATs we'd stagger back from the pub and watch the video album of this, so I have relatively fond memories of it.

The thing I find a bit annoying now is the drums, though they did of course give much of the sound, though I still quite like it.

It definitely sounded different at the time, though in hindsight you can hear influences from all sorts of folks, from Frankie Goes to Hollywood to DAF.

Either way, it's not in the tiniest bit folky which is always a major bonus.

:p

 

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