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Crazy to Exist (Live) [Remastered]

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Album Review

Expanding on a previous Japanese-only release, Rare Live — by combining the original ten-song early-1981 show on that effort with a further, not-as-well-recorded, ten-song session half a year later, Crazy to Exist — gives the self-respecting Josef K fanatic one further release to hit the shops. Both shows were quite brief, as preserved here — half an hour each — but that's perfectly in keeping with the spend-no-more-time-than-needed ethos of the band, who likely would have regarded any invitation to jam with the creeping horrors. Haig is in good voice for both sets, at points sounding arguably better than a number of his studio turns. "16 Years," which only turns up in the first set, is a real showcase for him, the slight reverb on his voice accentuating the nervy, wry passion of the piece (though credit should go as well to Ron Torrance, who is clearly having great fun on the drums). Both Haig and Ross just go to town on guitar — it's utterly refreshing to hear bright but truly forceful and energetic riffs and melodies that owe little to either power pop formalism or metallic rampage. The first-set take on "Revelation" is a delight in this respect, as is the second set, "Missionary" — the precision is as important as the live-wire crackle. "It's Kinda Funny" is a full-band highlight for both sets, scraggly but precise guitar solos, Haig's dissipated restraint, and weird, angular funk rhythms somehow suggesting what Bryan Ferry would have done had he been Haig's age in 1981. Other fine efforts include: "Crazy to Exist" in the first set, a pure delight from start to finish; the fiery first-set concluder, "Final Request," a cascading, chaotic frenzy of sound; and the second-set closers, "The Angle" and "Adoration." James Nice's exhaustive essay on the band and what the members did later, familiar from the other LTM reissues, returns again here.


Formed: 1979 in Edinburgh, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s

Inspired by the artsy side of the '70s New York scene and the anti-careerist stance of punk, Edinburgh natives Paul Haig (vocals, guitar), Malcolm Ross (guitar), and Ronnie Torrance (drums) formed a band with an apparently unmentionable name. Future Exploited member Gary McCormack came and went as the bassist, with the trio eventually renaming itself TV Art. David Weddell eventually filled the gap, with the band frequently playing in and around their town. By the end of 1979's summer, they had recorded...
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