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ARTIST
TITLE
Dark World (79-81)
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
UTR 130LP UTR 130LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
10/29/2021

LP version. 180 gram vinyl; gatefold sleeve with booklet; includes download card with eight bonus tracks included on CD version. Dark World collects together choice material from Normil Hawaiians' formative early years of 1979-1981. Tagging along with the band from their peppy post-punk origins (so brilliantly debuted on "The Beat Goes On") into the looser, dubbier territories that laid the foundations for the group's landmark album More Wealth Than Money. Dark World gathers the group's energetic 7" singles on Dining Out and Illuminated Records, their metamorphic Gala Failed EP (Red Rhino) and a lively last-minute Peel session from 1980, alongside outtakes, rarities, and demos. During this feverish time, founding member Guy Smith was motivated to make music that reveled in always trying out different things. Normil Hawaiians was a very fluid ensemble at this point, Guy often accompanied by Kev Armstrong and Jim Lusted encouraged saxophones, violins, synths, pianos and a select pack of female backing singers to take their post-punk sound into wilder directions. One of the earliest line-ups of Normil Hawaiians featured a 15-year-old Janet Armstrong on vocals alongside Guy, "Ventilation" best showcases her deadpan digressions. Janet went on to sing alongside David Bowie a few years later on his breathtaking mid-80s gem "Absolute Beginners". By this point Kev Armstrong was also guesting for Bowie on guitar duties too. Another guest to join the ranks of Normil Hawaiians during this fertile time of cross-pollination was Bertie Marshall (aka Berlin of the proto-punk Bromley Contingent). "Sang Sang" is a good example of how he was inspired to deliver his poetic treatises over the band's atmospheric, floating improvisations. Bertie's impressionistic influence helped the group uncouple further from rock tropes, as they became restless and more rhythmically-focused. "Still Obedient" fidgets, soars and careens across the dancefloor. By the end of this transformative two years Normil Hawaiians had spun an exceptional chrysalis around themselves. The dark world surrounding wouldn't win out, they'd eaten-up the music and grown continuously, wrote and recorded rapidly, covered Zappa and even David Lynch and could feel the light beginning to shine through. Dark World is a snapshot of a band in flux, finding their feet, stretching their limbs. Normil Hawaiians cover an awful amount of ground in such a short time-frame on this record and these tracks document all the glittering debris from their magpie's nest. Emergent, hopeful and resistant in sound and ethic.