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324 E. 13th Street #7

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Album Review

This CD collects all six of Roy Montgomery's solo singles — until 1999 anyway — a rare single from his band the Swallows in 1985, and four previously unreleased tracks. The Swallows' single had the word "legendary" written all over it when people here in the U.S. finally got hip to Montgomery as a solo artist. It was rated with his original Pin Group material and as being better than either Dadamah or Dissolve, his other group projects. The evidence is here on the CD and the legend was hype. "Suzanne Said" and "Trial by Separation" are, even as indie rock singles go, no big deal. They're pleasant tunes dealing with arty subjects and rather '60s-ish backing vocals. They do feature Montgomery's guitar style as already developed, and on "Trial by Separation," they present Montgomery's only known surf guitar solo. The rare tracks, including a demo single (production run: one copy) made from an art gallery wander called "Submerged and Colorful," is catchy even without drums, and a song from a poem written by his cousin ("Cousin Song") is compelling for its hypnotic acoustic guitar effect. Of the official "singles," "Film as a Subversive Art," "Just Melancholy," "Times Three," and "Strange Attractor" b/w "On the Road, No. 1" are the most compelling. Montgomery's plaintive, droning voice is further down in the mix on these and his guitars up front — and yes, that is a good thing. It becomes clear about halfway through the collection that Montgomery was making music based on his influences rather than from his inspiration. In that way, as non-serious documents, they work primarily as a way of looking back to the other places Montgomery's been than the conceptual — which his albums always are. But as songs and documents that have to stand on their own, they don't merit the attention and fascination that his other work does. This one is for hardcore fans only.

Biography

Born: Christchurch, New Zealand

Genre: Alternative

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

Experimental guitarist Roy Montgomery was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, forming his first band, the teen garage combo the Psychedeliks, in 1971. After serving out the remainder of the decade in similarly obscure outfits including Compulsory Fun and Murder Strikes Pink, he co-founded the seminal Kiwi post-punk trio the Pin Group in late 1980; their debut single, "Ambivalence," was also the first record ever issued on the now-legendary indie label Flying Nun, its echoing, darkly melodic...
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324 E. 13th Street #7, Roy Montgomery
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