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Album Review

Section 25's first phase of existence had long been plagued by bad luck amid many musical triumphs, and the band's incipient reunion in 2000 was undercut by the tragic early death of Jenny Cassidy due to cancer some years later. But the eventual appearance of Part-Primitiv in 2007, drawing partially on some of her last tracks but mostly consisting of newer ones done by the core of brothers Vin and Larry Cassidy plus former Tunnelvision member Ian Butterworth and Roger Wikeley, was well worth the wait. A vibrant, fierce collection of songs played with all the intense, live-wire energy one could want from Section 25, Part-Primitiv looks coolly around at the modern post-punk-derived musical landscape and blasts it into the next room. Bookended by two versions of the appropriately chilly though still sprightly "Winterland," the album shifts easily between electronic-derived tension and mean-as-hell rock arrangements. The rhythm section of Vin Cassidy and Wikeley shines on songs like "Poppy Fields," a kind of war tribute from hell, and the beyond-aggro "Roma." Larry Cassidy's fierce, angry singing on such pieces as "Can't Let Go" and the nervous, Krautrock-tinged sprawl of "Ludus Cantus" matches the feeling of the album to a T, while Butterworth's ear for sudden uplift amid the tense energy, especially notable on "She's So Pretty," caps things perfectly. Meanwhile, Jenny Cassidy's two vocal leads — on the big, open arrangement of "Dream" and the deft, coolly sweet "Better Make Your Mind Up" — serve as a fine final contribution from a talent sadly cut off too soon. Part-Primitiv is dedicated to her memory, and it's a worthy way to be remembered.


Formed: 1978 in Blackpool, England

Genre: Electronic

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

Not as strong as some of their Factory Records labelmates -- such as New Order, the Durutti Column, and A Certain Ratio -- Section 25 followed a similar course, providing a link between electronics-based new wave and the burgeoning indie dance movement of the mid- to late '80s. Formed in Blackpool in 1978 by brothers Larry and Vincent Cassidy, Section 25 later added guitarist Paul Wiggin and a drummer who quit soon afterwards. With an early template similar to Joy Division's atmospheric post-punk,...
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Part-Primitiv, Section 25
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