So I got caught up in that new iteration of ‘like this and I’ll give you a band’ stuff on Facebook — unintentionally but hey. Per Craig's request, he asked I pick a Gene Loves Jezebel song, and my choice was kinda easy, might have even linked it before. “Bread From Heaven” is from their still brilliant and often careening-on-the-edge-of-control debut album Promise, following a couple of early singles — you can catch up with it all on the 2 CD rerelease of Promise that came out on Beggars Banquet a few years back. The pop hooks were there from the start but in combination with the whole initial wave of ‘positive punk’/goth that followed in the wake of Siouxsie/Bauhaus et al they struck a more screwed-up/desperate and twisted line in both look and sonics. (If they weren’t on Beggars I’m sure Sacred Bones or Dark Entries would have gotten around to a reissue by now.) The first side of the album is loud, brash and sprawling — “Upstairs,” “Bruises” (which most clearly signals the next phase on Immigrant) and the amazing two part “Screaming for Emmalene/Scheming” in particular. But then the second side took a generally calmer approach until the very end, and this song kicked it off. It’s not entirely calm, though, and that’s the point — with a drum part so buried (intentionally) in the mix that it’s a distant looming rumble, guitars and perhaps a bit of bass don’t play any melody so much as provide shade and texture, arcing in and out and sounding, given the themes of the song, like strange birds of prey swooping down and away from whatever’s left to hunt in a wasteland. In said wasteland you have whichever Aston brother is on lead plus the other on occasional backing providing the only melody via the singing, and the effect is like an exploded song in comparison to their other work, all the ‘normal’ parts shattered and spread outward. But even that singing is stretched out, moving from intimate low moans to an arcing keen and wail. (When I played this just now someone nearby wondered if there was a call to prayer happening.) Given the lyrics themselves you can be easily forgiven for calling it little more than some kind of weird prog/metal fantasy in a post-punk world. But I always thought the imagery cut a little deeper and years later I found out why — according to the Astons it was written specifically in response to the initial victory of Thatcher in 1979 followed by her government’s steady grind-down of opposition, a fair amount of which was centered in the twins’ homeland of Wales. (The massive mine closures of 1984 — still a source of anger and dispute, thus this recent piece — were still to come but enough had already happened and was still going down.) So rather than simply some strange portrait of an apocalyptic landscape it was a bitterly vicious portrayal of defeat and and a hoped for revenge, and it works better still to the present day than a specific of-the-time-and-place portrait might have done. (Not to mention beating “Margaret on the Guillotine” six years to the punch when it came to bluntness.) They never really did anything like this again to my knowledge, but they did it the once, and it was enough, perfectly constructed and perfectly sequenced on the album, a rejection in the face of everything around it.