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6 The Daily Tar Heel Wednesday, February 6, 1980
New Clash album won blend
By JORDAN HAWLEY
Hopefully, London Calling, the latest
from The Clash, will prove to be one of
the more morbid albums of the '80s. If
you are already familiar with The
Clash's music, you know that it does not
fall into the Rock-a-Billy-Boogie, good
time tradition of rock 'n' roll. Rather,
The Clash is the closest living thing to
the Sex Pistols in American today.
Most new wave albums consist of 10
or 1 1 cuts of raunchy, paranoid, and
often excellent rock 'n' roll. London
Calling is an exception, containing 18
selections of monotone paranoia.
Simply, The Clash has dared to do what
most new wave groups have wisely
avoided it has released a double
This length creates several problems,
the most serious of which is keeping the
listener's attention. Frankly, it is not an
album to which you will want to spend
an hour and a half Hsteningto. It is more
disturbing than many new wave
At the same time, a lot of this album
deserves play for the lyrics and
accompaniment which are especially
unhealthy and stimulating.
N' every gimmick hungry yob
digging gold from rock 'n roll
Grabs the mike to tell us he'll die
before he's sold.
But 1 believe in this-and it's tested
' by research
That he w ho s a nun will later
join the church
Although rock 'n' roll nihilism is limited
and often redundant, The Clash
manages to crank out some inspiring
lines on age old complaints:
Spanish weeks in my disco casino,
The freedom fighters dies upon the
hill They sang the red flag, they
wore the black one
But after they died, it was
mocking bird hill.
If you have never listened to The Clash,
it won't take you long to realize it is the
most political bandoji pop music since
Dylan, and the members of The Clash
M usically, the group is competent; its t
sound does not require elaborate
rhythms or satanic guitar solos to get
them through. What they do, they do
Vocally, they lack traditional
ability as is the case with most rock
singers and range in sound from
Dylan with laryngitis to the average
pseudo-Buddy Holly croon.
Still, The Clash retains a style of their .
own. They are no second hand Sex
Pistols. London Calling explores new
territory. The cuts on this album are
more widely varied in tempo and style
than most three chord bands.
Cuts like "Wrong 'em Boys"
incorporate a reggae beat and a horn
section to produce a surprisingly
melodic sound. The' Clash has clearly
realized that survival in the pop music
world requires a diverse sound and has
I Kthwmr I ' Li
e Jfo sly,
...'London Calling' .
consequently modified its previous
extremely abrasive style. Yet the band
has not sold out to spineless pop and
manages to remain faithful to the
In fact, some of London Calling
remains faithful to tradition to the point
of being predictable. A good part of the
album is reminiscent of disco music
with a beat that goes on with little or no
change. The album would be much
better if it were a one record set.
The Clash remains one of the better
, new wave groups which emerged in the
late 70s, yet it seems uncertain about
what direction it wants to pursue. By
experimenting with different styles,
they have met both success and failure.
Overall, London Calling represents a
step ahead for The Clash, and at the
same time, it leaves much room for
One of its positive points is that it is
well produced; the sound is
appropriately rough, almost to the
point of being live. Incidentally,
London Calling, despite its cover
boasting concert shots, is not a live
album. All 18 cuts are new.
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