Conflict #47 - Feb / Mar 1988
These Immortal Souls
Get Lost (Don't Lie) (SST LP)
Marry Me (Lie Lie) (Mute UK 12" EP w/non-LP Iggy cover on the flip)
The end of Crime & The City Solution didn't exactly make headlines, but considering how few people actually paid attention to their 4 rec's, that's no big surprise. These Immortal Souls have more than a couple of musical and membership details in common (Rowland Howard, Epic Soundtracks and Harry Howard carry over from Crime, now joined by Genevieve McGuckin), but this new band sounds considerably looser and much less overbearing, esp. in the songwriting dept. This is Rowland's vehicle this time, and he approaches the subjects of busted relationships, betrayal, dreams never realised etc. with a world-weary, resigned tone --- which isn't to say anyone's gonna suffocate in all the misery. These Immortal Souls "swing" with a delicate balance between subtle restraint and full-throttle blur (the cover of Chilton's "Hey! Little Child" is a surprisingly upbeat interpretation from a very unlikely source). When people ask me if I like it better than Room Of Lights I tell 'em there's not so much in common for me to really worry about it... for a guy with such a visible history, Rowland Howard pulls his inspiration from corners most of us will never find. When their proposed US tour w/ Sonic Youth became scuttled due to low guarantees (for These Immortal Souls that is), it was yet another example of how far audience apathy has risen (never mind the Ex, you can't even travel to America on the strength of an SST deal!). I suppose they could've tried to tour the US bargain-basement style (ala the Membranes, Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers, BGK), but one of their UK label's NY pals told me that Rowland & buds couldn't possibly handle a cross-country trek on $200 a night (no money for hotels or a "babysitter" I was informed). Maybe they'll be over this Spring. (PO Box 1, Lawndale, CA 90260, 12" via Mute, 429 Harrow Rd., London W10 ARE).
- Gerard Cosloy