The Au Pairs
Playing With A Different Sex


4.5
superb

Review

by butcherboy CONTRIBUTOR (118 Reviews)
June 13th, 2018 | 40 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: is your finger aching?

Pointed, biting and sharp without collapsing into either heavy-handed sloganeering or vitriolic gnashing; the sexual and gender disparity and displeasure that form the back-bone of Playing with a Different Sex’ intention are as dexterous as they are striking. Faced with both a lack of recognition during their tenure, and the fact that these lyrics are as depressively on-topic today as they were in 1981, the LP becomes a sort of self-enclosed watershed, an intimate catharsis for a woman made as infuriated, discouraged and tired as a being can get. Most every erotic and political aspect that plagues modern co-existence gets a nod here - open relationships forged under false pretenses, erotic sojourners posing as prime fetishists, domestic abuse, emotional manipulation, the cult of dieting, sex turned into little more than another suburban chore and on and on, all of which reaches a boiling point on the unflinching and jagged “Armagh,” with the lead singer Lesley Woods chanting “We don’t torture!” as she dives headlong into the rumours of rape and debasement that swirled around Northern Irish political women’s prisons, an issue raised and re-raised that ultimately gained no worldwide exposure. The track, made insidiously catchy by an elastic bass-line that flings itself around searing guitar salvos is a shuddering marvel, earworm writing and grimly meaningful subject matter pulsing away in obscene apposition.

That juxtaposition marks the length of Playing with a Different Sex, involved topics subversively tackled, all bolstered by infectiously deft songwriting. There isn’t a single moment on the Au Pairs’ debut that it isn’t a head-nodding, feet-swaying, dance-your-ass-off good time from a musical standpoint. And in through every crack left open between sax freak-outs, guitar shredding, and Jane Munro’s supremely agile bass-work, Woods and co. snuck in social consciousness by the song-load. Once funk-tinged closer “It’s Obvious” charted in Britain, all that insurrection left the band exposed to middle-class scrutiny, but it’s glumly telling of just how deeply base puritanism runs through civilized society that for all of “Armagh”’s fierily controversial war-calls, it was “Come Again,” a song that talked openly about women coming (and not) that got them banned from the BBC. Though the Au Pairs disbanded soon after the release of their sophomore LP, here’s humble hope that the far-seeing, unabashedly honest and lastingly classic Playing with a Different Sex finds a new generation of listeners as we crest the umpteenth rung of gender strife.



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2018


8381 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

first one back after a bit of a break.. don't crucify me..

Digging: A.C. Temple - Blowtorch

Papa Universe
June 13th 2018


16634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

*readies a cross*

Digging: VRCVS - VRCVS

hal1ax
June 13th 2018


11257 Comments


how dare u go on a break

wonder if i would be into this

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2018


23433 Comments


dig the album cover, glad to see u back at it

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2018


8381 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

halloooooo..



hal, you'll be into this if you know what's good for ya..

Papa Universe
June 13th 2018


16634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

one of these days my review count will surpass that of yours, that I promise ya

*threateningly shakes fist in the air*

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2018


8381 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if you go on another rush of reviewing, you'll leave me in the proverbial dust, boyo..

Papa Universe
June 13th 2018


16634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm too burnt out and busy for that now. But one of these days I will have a free moment and no signifant new releases will pop up that week and that's when I strike. With fury.

SandwichBubble
June 13th 2018


7040 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Digging: OCS - OCS

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2018


8381 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

have you checked my dig yet, Sandwich.. you should like it.. Uni, you too..

SandwichBubble
June 13th 2018


7040 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Butcher that album is a comp I swear to gosh

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2018


8381 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's not.. it was recorded live in a semi-studio environment as a whole album in the 80's.. it just wasn't released until 2005..

SandwichBubble
June 13th 2018


7040 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Are the tracks different from the Flesh EP versions?

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2018


8381 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

louder, rawer, better, but not radically different.. band were solid live..

SandwichBubble
June 13th 2018


7040 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Alright alright, if that's the case then I'll leave it an LP

you better watch it though, I'm on patrol

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2018


8381 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

snitches get stitches and site glitches..

SandwichBubble
June 13th 2018


7040 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Every time you click submit on an album edit, a small piece of the 60s-style mainframe breaks away, slowly tumbling to a floor coated with shattered jewel cases and torn newspapers.

bgillesp
June 13th 2018


5632 Comments


hahahaha

brainmelter
June 13th 2018


5675 Comments


great read butcher, will put this on to-check list

Digging: Banana Head - Phones the Public

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2018


8381 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers, brain.. methinks you'll like this one..



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