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Love In The Time Of Recession

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Album Review

Although the title alludes to both Gabriel García Márquez's novel Love in the Time of Cholera and the late-'00s financial meltdown, it's the latter that offers greater metaphorical insight into this album. Here, amid the Durutti Column's familiar melancholy, there's a strong feeling of sobering austerity. That mood pervades the trudging "Rant," where Vini Reilly's mournful vocals are punctuated with resigned whistling, but the austerity is rendered most beautifully on his gentle tribute to Durutti drummer Bruce Mitchell ("For Bruce") and on sparser numbers that foreground the somber interplay of guitar and piano ("Wild Beast Tamed"; "Painting"; "More Rainbows"). These tracks come across as elegies to better times; elsewhere, that elegiac impulse is more explicit. On the opener, "In Memory of Anthony," Reilly pays homage to his late mentor and manager, the song moving from a faltering dirge to a swaggering conclusion with exuberant sampled vocals and crunchy riffing. Indeed, despite the general aura of world-weariness, Reilly injects some material with a marked sense of energy and purpose, echoing the cover photo of the band members putting on a show of attitude. In keeping with its assertive title, "I'm Alive" supplements its moody atmospherics with a resolute drive and with impassioned vocal samples to flesh out Reilly's own singing. However, while most of these tracks evoke perseverance in the face of adversity, the concept of recession also appears to extend to Reilly's creativity, as there's a scarcity of fresh ideas here. That's underlined by overlong numbers like the plodding "Loser": part of Reilly's charm has always been his gossamer lightness of touch, but this song feels labored and heavy-going. Overall, in the broader context of the Durutti Column catalog, this isn't an indispensable recording and it suggests, despite its compelling moments, that Reilly might sometimes benefit from more rigorous editing.


Formed: 1978 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Durutti Column was primarily the vehicle of Vini Reilly, a guitarist born in Manchester, England, in 1953. As a child, Reilly first took up the piano, drawing inspiration from greats like Art Tatum and Fats Waller, before learning to play guitar at the age of ten. Despite an early affection for folk and jazz, Reilly ultimately became swept up by the punk movement, and in 1977 he joined the group Ed Banger & the Nosebleeds. In 1978, Factory Records founder Tony Wilson invited Reilly to join a...
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