Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Au Pairs | Kamera Records

The Au Pairs formed in Birmingham in 1979, part of what became known as the "second wave" of punk, or simply "post-punk". The Au Pairs was fronted by Lesley Woods (on vocals and guitar (who was at the time one of only a handful of "out" lesbians in the whole punk music scene). The other members included guitarist Paul Foad, bassist Jane Munro and drummer Pete Hammond.
The Au Pairs were able to use their mixed line-up to highlight gender clash in their songs, with lyrics celebrating female sexuality and power stuggles between the sexes in relationships; they also took obligatory swipes at the conservative political climate sweeping England after Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister. The group released two studio albums, "Playing with a Different Sex" in 1981 and "Sense and Sensuality" in 1982. Interestingly, after their bootleg "Equal But Different" was released in 1983, an official version of the same concert was released as the LP "Live in Berlin" (with two less songs than on bootleg, however... but I've got that one - give it a comment and I know there is someone to upload it for). Their last release was the BBC Sessions, also released in 1983. The group disbanded later that year. In the late 1980's Lesley formed a band called The Darlings with Ellyot Dragon and Debbie Smith (of Curve, Echobelly and Snowpony), who later went on to form Sister George. But then left the music industry. She now works as a lawyer. Guitarist, Paul Foad remains an active musician, playing and teaching guitar in and around Birmingham. Bass player Jane Munro works as an alternative therapist in Birmingham. Pete Hammond also remains an active musician and teaches percussion in Birmingham.

So, "Sense and Sensuality" released by Kamera Records in 1982 is their second and actually the last album. Characteristics: Munro's heavy and prominent bass lines accented by two choppy guitars, "mid-hi" new wav-ish drums. "Sense and Sensuality" songs counstructions are so brittle and dissonant, the atonal bass and guitars are trying to shake the melodic grid holding it still at the same time. The album is a solid piece, 10 tracks, absolutely different melodically, but all the ingredient listed above draw the LP scheme so precisely that in case you like a track, you'll like the whole piece.
In case you would like to track down this release, there are still several items used on ebay (not that rare actually), but "Sense And Sensuality" was twice reissued on CD, first on RMP Records in 1993 and then on Castle Communications (a subsidiary of Sanctuary Records) in 2002 (remixed and digitally remastered from the original master tapes).

• The sleeve info:
KAM 010
Lesley Woods - guitar, vocal
Jane Munro - bass
Paul Foad - guitar, vocal, cello
Pete Hammond - drums
Plus: Chris Lee - trumpet, Olly Moore - sax, Keith Knowles - synthesizers, John Suddick - synthesizers, Milt Hampton - vibraphone.
Cut by John Dent (Sound Clinic)
Recorded at Jacobs Studios
April-June 1982
Engineered by Terry Barham and Ken Thomas
Produced by Au Pairs and Martin Culverwell
Published by Ideal Home Noise
Sleeve adapted by Martin Culverwell from a design by El Lissitzky
Artwork by Citizen Bank
Printed by Centre Print
Distributed by Stage One.
(All sleeves are usually embeded, you can see these in iTunes artwork section).

A well-known resouce, I suppose, but... take a look at them young and furious at New wave photos.

Post-punk or new wave, whatever - true masterpiece.

Download Au Pairs "Sense And Sensuality" (60.2 Mb)

7 comments:

nortoncommando said...

Love both CDs and would like the live album, if you please. Still remember seeing them on screen in the URGH! A Music War film! Lesley was such a strong voiced and independent front person. A great post-punk image. Also, Paul and her had some great interaction/tension in the performance of Come Again in the film. Thanx!

Bucephalus said...

Au Pairs, Live In Berlin.zip (92.91 MB)
http://www.mediafire.com/?5eqarzzyhlj

said...

thanks to Bucephalus for sharing that pieces, yet I had to ripp it before uploading... and it takes time... thanks man

El said...

Fantastic. Thankyousomuch!

Anonymous said...

That picture of the Auto Repair building is two blocks from my house. That is crazy. Where did you get the picture?

said...

I do not remeber actually... found somewhere... that's crazy... really=) where it's at? I am miles away from and never been to that place.

Anonymous said...

It's in a neighborhood in Seattle. Yeah it blew me away when I saw it. The internet is crazy.