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THE DIAGRAM BROTHERS – Some Marvels of Modern Science (CD, LTM)

Posted: March 6th, 2007, by Crayola

I’ve not even finished listening to the marvellous Manicured Noise retrospective that I reviewed a little while ago and what should drop through my door but a retrospective of fellow early 80’s Mancunians, The Diagram Brothers.
I have to admit I know very little about them other than the fact that Andy Diagram is now one of David Thomas’ Two Pale Boys.
I also know their records were released by Richard Boon’s legendary New Hormones label.

Get past some of the humorous titles – “Ron! The Morris Minor’s Gone”, “I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today By Being A Right Git” – and what you have is a really exciting new wave art rock band that owe as much to the No Wave of the Contortions as they do to the UK punk scene and the art rock of Pere Ubu.

The guitars are all stainless steel clean, tones you could cut your finger on.
There’s some beautiful percussion, hints of both Devo and The Slits in the time changing and call and response chants, and bass playing that could be a forerunner to the avant noodling of Stump’s Kev Hopper.

The only downside is the ocassional low of some of the lyric writing. It can sometimes be a little too cleverly naive.
But then what would you expect from a group of young men making music where and when they did?

“Postal Bargains” is my current favourite – It’s all fighting guitars, driving rhythm and get-in-your-head annoying singing.

Don’t worry if you, like me, don’t know a great deal about The Diagram Brothers.
Regardless of whether or not you’re interested in experimental english pop of the late 70’s and early 80’s, if you like your pop music guitar driven, interesting, thought provoking, hummable and catchy then you’ll dig this to pieces.


Crayola's musical heritage stretches way back to having one of the most impressive record collections in Telford. Always on the outer limits of the most independent of independent music, he now co-runs Kabukikore Records and releases more records and CDRs than you can shake an obscure stick a t. And they have some nice packaging, too.

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