The Raincoats
Odyshape


4.5
superb

Review

by butcherboy CONTRIBUTOR (88 Reviews)
September 14th, 2017 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The path is wet, come to me..

’80-’85 Part III

It seems that to the layman, The Raincoats were always a band easier recognizable for their importance and imprint on the indie scene and female-led music than the music itself. That distinction is understandable. The Raincoats were a singularly trying listen to those simply looking for a melodic itch to scratch. Dense, busy and increasingly difficult; the noisier, reverb-soaked aspirations they had first sunk their teeth into on The Raincoats were all distilled into a clean asymmetrical roil on Odyshape, pulling the band further away from the mainstream’s good graces and into that hallowed artistic space of ‘you either get it or you don’t.’

Though Odyshape had come out during no-wave’s ever-brief peak of critical recognition, even by that niche’s fanned-out praxes, The Raincoats were doing something utterly of the left-field. Odyshape does indeed burrow deeper than eccentric rave-ups or opiated no-wave balladry. A heady mash of stylistic tangents, the album’s Vivien Goldman-like streaks of odd-patterned dub were twisted up with indie and folk and primitivist disco, and then passed through the distinct prism of surreal feminism, the sort of abstracted call-to-arms and commentary that X-Ray Spex had scorched through on Germ Free Adolescents just a few years earlier.

Interruption becomes Odyshape. At surface value, most every turn the band take looks less an aesthetic choice and more a halting crash. The music-box twinkling and clock ticks that break “Only Loved at Night” out of its eerie strut. The hollowed-out tribal percussion churning underneath the reggae strum of “Dancing in My Head.” The lopsided pitch of closer “Go Away.” The songs that do seemingly manage to contain some status-quo dulcetness (Family Treet, Baby Song) still carry that neurotic underbelly, ready to fall apart into elementals at the slightest provocation. All of that havoc is anchored by Ana Da Silva’s and Gina Birch’s agitated crooning.

For all the jittery architecture, Odyshape keeps an unnerving cohesiveness in its aim. That is The Raincoats’ biggest feat and why this record is so distinctive and idiosyncratically important. It’s anti-music in perhaps its most elegant form, all of its disruptive elements plaiting together into something bigger than the sum of its parts, deconstruction that actually musters new birth.

After all these years, Odyshape still stands as a record of its own ilk. Plenty of The Raincoats’ peers were plowing the same ground at the time. Delta 5 and their solemn treatises of gender relations. The Au Pairs and their funk-sodden salvos. Even The Mekons in their early days were plying their hand at this sort of beatific rack and ruin. But none of it was ever as strange. Or as f#cking good.



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The Raincoats

Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2017


5971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This one was Doof's pick for the series..

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2017


17011 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Will read later today, you're a doll butch



Quality dig, on heavy rotation for me too

Papa Universe
September 14th 2017


8672 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Now that's something I can get behind.

Digging: Gattopardo - Gattopardo

SandwichBubble
September 14th 2017


4979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm here, i'm queer



of course I miss "80s week" on sputnik, just my luck

Digging: Galley Beggar - Heathen Hymns

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2017


5971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i saw the footage in miami.. apocalyptic stuff.. though i would have loved to surf down the business district, turning corners.. we got some decent waves here for a change..

SandwichBubble
September 14th 2017


4979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

would make for some sick waveriding, absolutely. Glad I don't live on the coast, cause they got tossed up something fierce



anyway, A RAINCOATS REVIEW!





butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2017


5971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ooh yea!

SandwichBubble
September 14th 2017


4979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How many days of 80s reviews is this, cause I don't think I can handle being away for too much longer.

I haven't listened to a new album in a few days and i'm getting patches on my arms

NorthernSkylark
September 14th 2017


8678 Comments


Loved their first. Will finalt check

Digging: Girl Ray - Earl Grey

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2017


5971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is the third for me, Blue Orchids and Saccharine Trust before it, ten reviews in ten days!



Diva also wrote up Ultravox yesterday..

SandwichBubble
September 14th 2017


4979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pass me a New Coke I must've traveled back in time

very good review, I'll read the rest of yours and Diva's reviews when I get time tonight

Divaman
September 14th 2017


1583 Comments


Good one, bb. They are a strange band, but an interesting one.

Digging: Neil Cavanagh - City of the Sun, Valley of the Moon

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2017


17011 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review, this still sounds really odd for 2017...must have sounded like it came from another planet in 1981.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2017


5971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers, gents..



Doof, there's really no album like it out there..

TwigTW
September 14th 2017


2852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"For all the jittery architecture, Odyshape keeps an unnerving cohesiveness in its aim." True, and pretty amazing, considering.



This album is wonderful. It's melodic and dissonant and sometimes even sounds like two different records playing at the same time. It's quite a lot to get my head around, but it's great.





Digging: Exquirla - Para Quienes An Viven

Chortles
September 14th 2017


20887 Comments


very good, as expected butch! the rev and album cover is an intriguing combo, probably gonna check this one out. been awhile since i've binged on any 80s stuff

Digging: Burger / Ink - Las Vegas

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2017


5971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Chorts, this album is a very important document of an amazing scene .. even if you don't like it, it's worth listening to once..



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