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The Visit / Seduction

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Album Review

Following up on the career retrospective The Damage, this CD patchily reconstructs two key releases in this Manchester post-punk outfit's history. The Visit was first released as a 12" EP in 1980; later reissues expanded the set to full-length with the addition of songs from the subsequent "My Cherry Is in Sherry" 7" and the Pickpocket cassette, but this set cuts it back to the original four tracks, "Lullabye Cheat," "Unveil," "Sightseeing," and "I Can't Swim, I Have Nightmares." In its original form, 1981's The Seduction was Ludus' proper album debut, and the band's career high point. Despite the straightforward construction of the compilation's title, however, this album isn't properly showcased here: instead of the extended six-minute version of "My Cherry Is in Sherry" on the original double-EP release of The Seduction, the original 2:38 single mix is here. In the other direction, "Herstory" is presented in a previously unreleased extended version. Also, just to be confusing, the set also throws on two bonus tracks somewhere in the middle, the single sides "Mother's Hour" and the Brazilian-influenced "Anatomy Is Not Destiny." Regardless of the set's structural deficiencies, it's undeniable that these 14 songs are a valuable addition to LTM's ongoing project of resurrecting the British indie scene of the '80s and early '90s. An unfairly overlooked band too often thought of only in relation to singer Linder Sterling's later personal and professional relationship with one Steven Morrissey, Ludus in fact were an intriguing blend of confrontational gender politics (à la the Au Pairs) and post-punk experimentalism. There's quite a stylistic jump from the harshness of the four EP tracks and the considerably more melodic indie guitar pop of The Seduction, which features Sterling's new musical foil, guitarist Ian Devine (later of the lovely minimalist twee pop duo Devine & Statton with ex-Young Marble Giants singer Alison Statton), but the soul of the record is in Sterling's impressionistic but biting lyrics and her expressive vocals, which can shift from an Ari Up/Poly Styrene squeal to a shaky-pitched-but-appealing croon similar to Marine Girls-era Tracey Thorn (and, indeed, early Morrissey). The packaging also includes several examples of Sterling's collage-based art, showcasing her later career as a notable visual artist.


Formed: 1978 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Ludus are one of the less-known Manchester bands of the post-punk era. Formed in 1978 by former Manicured Noise guitarist Arthur Kadmon, the group initially consisted of former Nosebleeds drummer Philip Tolman, bassist Willie Trotter, and vocalist Linder (Linda Mulvey), a Manchester scenester who designed record sleeves and posters for Buzzcocks and Magazine. She also became a close friend of Morrissey, who was significantly inspired by her. Ludus debuted on Richard Boon's New Hormones label in 1980...
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The Visit / Seduction, Ludus
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