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Flood Bank

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Album Review

Part two of Acute's efforts to put one of England's more obscure post-punk bands back into circulation — they were barely in circulation while they were around, with self-promotion in short supply and a small outlet in the Red label — combines 1981's Therapy and 1983's Ultramarine, the Lines' two albums. It is not a typical two-fer in that the sequencing of tracks bounces back and forth between the albums, and "Respit," Ultramarine's closer, is not included. Putting the tracks back in order doesn't change the experience significantly; from song to song, the band kept switching it up, and neither album plays out like a unified statement. While the single and EP tracks compiled on Memory Span are mostly song-oriented, the band's approach on Therapy and Ultramarine was more exploratory. Remarkably, the lone constant through the band's discography is the gradual insidiousness of the songs, whether they are based around taut riffing and crafty hooks or repetition and texture — the effect is rarely immediate. The most insidious of the bunch here include "Come Home" (a sparse rave-up from the bottom of a well), "Instincticide" (like Devo's cover of "Satisfaction" reduced to a tangle of twitching guitar spindles and indecipherable muttering), "Have a Heart" and "Flood Bank" (sharp art pop à la Josef K at their most aloof), "Stripe" (downcast post-punk disco, as spooky as A Certain Ratio's "Flight"), and "Ultramarine" (nearly a dead ringer for the Sound's quieter, more pensive material).


Formed: 1977 in England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s

English post-punk band the Lines first recorded in 1977 and released their last material in 1983, quietly leaving a pair of albums -- Therapy (October 1981) and Ultramarine (March 1983) -- and a handful of singles and EPs in their wake. Fairly indifferent to the press, affiliated with a very small label, and, despite connections to Alternative TV, Prag Vec, and Fad Gadget, not part of any scene, the Lines gained a small and fervent following, and their releases remained obscure until the Acute label's...
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Flood Bank, The Lines
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