Saturday, 4 July 2009

Dub Sex and Dumb

I went down to London last week for work, but mainly to see Marianthi and Sandy, as well as Give it Ups and Mascot Fight at Brixton Jamm (warning: £3.90 for a pint of lager).

Both bands were ace, of course, and it was about time that Mascot Fight had a sympathetic soundman. Well done to all concerned.

Anyway, Sandy had said she'd got a present for me, and so I thought that I'd return the favour by giving her an old Cribs promo that I'd had kicking around for ages. They're her favourite new band. She gave the 12 inch version of The Underneath by Dub Sex, which completed by collection. So that was nice.

Dub Sex were around in Manchester at the end of 1980s, and their sound could easily be described as Eighties Awkward. They were centred around the voice of Mark Hoyle and the bass playing of Cathy Brooks. Hoyle's voice sounded like someone had just chucked a load of bricks in a cement mixer, whilst Brooks' bass drove the whole thing forward in an almost industrial way.

Dub Sex released five singles and two albums in just over two years - mostly on the Cut Deep label, and appeared on a few compilations here and there. They were largely ignored, apart from the sublime 'Swerve' appearing in the lower reaches of the Festive 50 in 1989. They split in 1990, and Brooks and Hoyle worked on putting together Dumb, there next band.

Dumb weren't a million miles away from Dub Sex. Hoyle's voice still rasped against the world, and Brooks' bass still bounced around in places you wouldn't think possible, but Dumb's music was less dense than Dub Sex's.

I plucked up the courage to befriend Dumb when they sent me their 'Always Liverpool' single for review in 1994. There then followed countless trips to Manchester to see them play and fall in love a little bit with their percussionist.

Dumb released two albums of tight, wired pop and then split, with guitarist Jay going off to play with John Robb's Gold Blade. Hoyle and Brooks reformed Dub Sex a couple of years ago for some gigs in Manchester, which I only found out about after they'd happened. Shame. Brooks went o to play in the equally excellent Calvin Party, who mix politics and pop in the most visceral, exciting way. Hunt down their track 'Lies, Lies and Government' at once.

Anyway - thanks, Sandy. Here's 'Swerve', and here's a few more Dub Sex tracks. Time of Life is particularly thrilling.


Francis said...

I just got the Dumb "Max Wall" CD from the website after years of trying to find it. Still never seen the first album anywhere - but I have the two 7" singles. Both bands were fantastic. You are right (again!)

Ashley Pomeroy said...

I'm listening to "Always Liverpool" on an old John Peel show from 1994, this one here:

It's awesome. If they'd been around a couple of years later I can picture them fitting in with the more interesting edges of Britpop and selling more records. I can't tell if the sample at the end about doctors and medical supplies is at the end of this record or the start of the next one.

I have an earlier show where Peel played "Swerve", which is odd, but the man's voice stands out. Technically raspy but he conveys passion.

sildenafil said...

It was a great concert, I also went with some of my friends, I wasn't aware that the band have so many fans.

sildenafil said...

Excellent band my favorite son is "Always liverpool" and the video is great I have some videos of this group .

Anonymous said...

Dubsex's guitarist ended up Playing with Jah Wobble for years.

Andrew Reuland said...

I bought The Underneath 12" back in day as a wee lad in Boston, MA. Being a Yank I knew nothing about the them... must have found the name provocative. Great band - that record has stuck with me for years.