RAYMILLAND: Recordings ‘79-’81: CD

The only thing i know about Ray Milland, the actor, was that he was in that horror movie Frogs, from which i ripped off the poster art to use on the cover of my fanzine like a quarter-century ago. The only thing i know about Raymilland, the band, is that 1) they are “legendary 1st wave post punk from St. Louis,” and 2) they have a really stupid name ((and THAT i learned from a sticker on the front cover)). Having cut my teeth in the punk scene during the largely undocumented very late 70’s/early-to-mid 80’s era, i fully understand the compulsion for aging fans of that period to scrape together whatever material exists by whatever undeservedly unknown band they used to get out of their minds to thirty years ago and belatedly plunking said scrapings onto a CD; the problem is, usually, that said CD indeed delights the family and friends of the band, but serves as little more than a vaguely interesting historical footnote for the rest of us. Surprisingly, the life and times of Raymilland—dour-countenanced dorks, several of whom have their hair combed into their eyes ((though possibly so long ago that that was actually cool)) ((er…probly not))—actually constitute a fairly cool listenin’ experience. Who knew? Mildly darkish, postish, punkish, synthish, rockish post-wave somethin-somethin’ that probably doesn’t really sound like Ultravox v. Mission of Burma in a burping contest, but that’s fun to say, so why not? I never really listened to bands like this back in The Day ((Wire, Television, Ultravox, Gang of Four…i mean, i didn’t even listen to the Wipers back then, ya know?)), but they manage to not offend me with cornball über-darkness, nor do they descend into kitschy “the 80’s are here! Let’s look all glassy eyed and fellate test-tubes!” Peewee-Herman-O-Rama, so even though i’m a little too much of a straight-up goof to tell you exactly WHEN their time was, i can say with great certainty that they were ahead of it. Pretty cool if you like this sort of thing, and still kinda cool even if you don’t. BEST SONG: Well, i thought it was “She’s Got Medals,” ‘til i found out it was a David Bowie cover. Beats me, i never really listened to him either until i was too old and weak to fight it. “High & Wide” is pretty cool though. BEST SONG TITLE: I hate to say this, but i think it’s also “She’s Got Medals.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I think it was the me stealing the cover art from Frogs thing.

 –norb (BDR)