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Accessory After the Fact (Live)

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Album Review

Crispy Ambulance's material had been reissued off and on over the years, but it was the series of re-releases in 1999, along with the offer from long-time Crispies fanatic Graham Massey (808 State) of a Manchester venue to play in, which prompted a full reunion for a one-off. A near complete record of the performance — a version of Iggy Pop's "Funtime" done just for the hell of it is absent — Accessory After the Fact shows the quartet well up for it, its rehearsal time well spent. It would have been very interesting — and typical of the band's general working procedure — to have whipped up a whole new series of songs, but even though no new numbers surfaced, the set is a fine combination of obscure and more well-known numbers alike. Massey's production and better recording equipment resulted in a clearer sounding disc than Fin, and about the only criticism to be raised might be that Hempsall's delivery is a touch more formal here than on that earlier live effort. Still, that's more a matter of degrees than anything else, and his between song comments show his sense of humor fully intact. Davenport's guitar abilities are undimmed with time as well (and how nice it is to hear somebody not equate age and experience with bad blues solos), while the Darbyshire/Madeley rhythm section broods and brawls with the best of them, often creating trance-like, powerful efforts. Highlights are plentiful — "The Presence," arguably the band's absolute high point, gets a shorter but no less fascinating rendition, while Fin's one-two punch of "The Plateau Phase" and "Nightfall Ends the Ceasefire" is repeated here, only with the latter song coming first. Passionate rips through "Come On" and "Choral" and another fine take on Throbbing Gristle's "United" deserve attention as well.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

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

Inspired after witnessing gigs by the Sex Pistols and Magazine, vocalist Alan Hempsall formed Crispy Ambulance with guitarist Robert Davenport, bassist Keith Darbyshire, and drummer Gary Madeley. After several shows, including a support slot for Joy Division, they recorded their first single and contacted labels such as Rough Trade and Factory, only to be turned down. Upset but resourceful, the band released it on their own Aural Assault imprint. Rob Gretton (Joy Division's manager) was soon hired...
Full bio
Accessory After the Fact (Live), Crispy Ambulance
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