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Songs for Sale

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Album Review

Abandoning their heretofore punk career, Vic Godard redirects the Subway Sect into Cole Porter territory on Songs for Sale. The album is named after the Porter standard "Love for Sale", which is included as the only non-original composition. Godard fashions sweet, carefree pop tunes with such aplomb that "Love for Sale" could almost be mistaken for another original creation. Finger-snapping, piano-dominated lounge music provides an excellent backdrop for Godard's romantic crooning, especially on innocent love songs like "What's Your Name", "Just in Time", and "Hey Now (I'm in Love)". To the band's credit, the throwback approach is fresh and invigorating, avoiding the trappings of similar tributes to yesteryear. Fans of the group's prior releases will undoubtedly be disappointed with the abrupt stylistic turnabout, and Porter disciples will likely miss the double entendres and flippant wit which characterized classics like "Let's Do It". Nevertheless, Godard exudes the confidence of a man who genuinely loves his subject matter and knows exactly how he wants to emulate it. He concentrates on sentimental ditties that occupy the middle ground between naivete and sophistication. His mastery of this narrow niche cannot be denied, and Songs for Sale succeeds as a pleasant salutation to the pre-rock era.


Genre: Alternative

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

In 1977, Vic Godard, leader of the early British punk band Subway Sect, described how his band differed from the Sex Pistols and the other new groups on the scene: "They just want to revitalize rock & roll whereas we just wanna get rid of it." Subway Sect were one of the more distinctive acts to emerge from the first wave of U.K. punk, possessing a lean, primal sound that owed a strong debt of influence to the Velvet Underground and the Modern Lovers, but while they were playing gigs as early as...
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Songs for Sale, Vic Godard
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