And so, we return! This time, with a little more time to think about what I’m doing, you can expect fortnightly long readers such as this one that I haven’t rushed out ten minutes before I post it! This fortnight’s can comes specially recommended by Leigh-On-Sea’s own Hoppily, a fantastic local craft beer shop and subscription service.
Hackney Brewery’s ‘Push Eject’ is the subject of review this week and the record was chosen almost immediately as my mind clicked onto the obvious choice, Bauhaus’ ‘Press Eject and Give Me the Tape’.
So, yet again, I am forced to fabricate similarities between two things that, on the surface, aren’t very similar, in order to satisfy my one-track mind. The beer is a refreshing IPA, something I’ve grown rather accustom to since beginning my foray into the world of drinks that can’t be bought from my local convenience shop.
Presented in a can featuring the world’s most cylindrical cassette player, ‘Push Eject’ hits the nose with a delightful mix of citrus and tropical fruits, a very familiar combination by now. Being a 6.5% beer, going in to this, I was expecting a heavy, overriding bitterness that you often find with stronger IPAs. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Hackney Brewery’s perfect balance of sweetness from the tropical fruits and bitterness from the grapefruit and citrus side of things; At no point does either contrasting flavour overpower the other.
On to Bauhaus. How can you possibly relate a band lauded as the harbinger of goth music to a light, refreshing IPA? I have no idea.
This is an album that I picked up in my first couple of years collecting records in my early teens because it was, at the time, one of the few things I’d actually heard of as I dug through the three for a fiver bins at my local record shop. It sat in the first cube of my record collection since then, probably only being spun once or twice, the groove only running through the first one or two tracks on each side.
Being a live album, Bauhaus are playing to their audience. In 1981, one year after their first (and most famous) single, ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’, a track told to have brought about much of the goth movement, you can imagine the crowd to have been full of people hoping to embrace their newfound dark sides.
It opens with Pete Murphy’s pained vocals crying the title track of their 1980 album: In the Flat Field. As live albums go, there’s minimal interruption from screaming fans and you’re simply met with a pleasant round of applause between each track, which is a relief after the experience of various poorly recorded live shows complete with the venue’s ambience.
The track list is a strange one. It’s made up of two types of songs. You’re either feeling a compulsion to dance or you want to lay in bed staring blankly at a wall hoping for something to happen. Its third track, ‘Dancing’ is one of the former. With drums that sound almost like Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’ on speed, you are totally caught out by the sudden shift into the former type of track that follows. It’s a strangely droning and slow version of ‘The Man with the X-Ray Eyes’, the original version of which would probably more suit the first category. Murphy seems to channel his inner Jello Biafra at points, manipulating his voice to add some character to what is, otherwise, an unchanging droning instrumental in the background. This side is probably the more interesting of the two as a one-time Velvet Underground obsessive as it comes with a cover of a John Cale B-Side, “Rosegarden Funeral of Sores”, a track they first covered as their own B-Side to 1980’s ‘Telegram Sam’.
Press Eject’s second side again, follows suit, this time with some of the most frustrating tracks I think I may ever have heard. B1, ‘The Spy in the Cab’ sounds like a heartrate monitor, a drum machine and Mr. Murphy trying desperately hard to release all of his angst. Tracks B2 and B3 are faster paced and danceable, even featuring what sounds like a set of bongos at one point. But there’s an underlying problem with almost every track on this side though. They’re all build up, but there’s just no pay off. Most of them actually start out fairly promising, but then, that’s where they end as well.
In retrospect, this beer isn’t really much like this album, but I’ve gotten this far and I’m not turning back. Hackney’s ‘Push Eject’ hits a perfect balance between sweet notes and bitter after tones. Bauhaus’ ‘Press Eject…’ starts out sweet, with a few decent tracks and interesting themes, but we’re eventually left with a rather overriding bitter taste thanks to a series of premature conclusions. But, thank goodness for the names…