830 004-4 M-1 Heaven And The Sea
Produced by Stephen Hague
Released on June 1986
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
830 004-4 M-1 cover  

T he story of the boy who went to sleep angry and woke up a machine. The seeds of dance dissent lay slumbering under the hard lacquered floor. The dancers had already let the lion (Pete Shelley) through the gate on the strength of “Homosapiens,” thinking they could make a pet of him. They were wrong. Heaven And The Sea is a darker, crowded vision of synthesizer pop; not punk but not pretty either. Call it a slow march back to The Buzzcocks, as songs like “Never Again” and “My Dreams” suggest that band in a thoughtful mood. However, it’s too synthetic and slow for punk, too talkative for club music, instead inhabiting some halfworld of atmospheric synthesizer pop and angst (right next door to Love And Rockets). I always had the feeling this music should have led to more, like a lush folk-punk movement or something, rather than a dead end. You can sense some of Shelley’s frustration on the Chuang Tzu quote on the inner sleeve (translation: we music listeners love our leprous lot). But what kind of cure was Shelley selling on Heaven And The Sea? A palliative of punk and disco, which was plainly unpalatable to both camps. XL-1 was equally robotic, but the melodies were better. Heaven has some of the dramatic sameness that plagued the latter-day Ultravox albums: interesting but not instantly hummable. And so Shelley seems to have ended up on the alluvial edges with the other alternative heroes that arrived in the first wave (Adam Ant, Gary Numan, The Stranglers). Heaven And The Sea is still a good album; perhaps his most principled record to date. But it doesn’t have a good gimmick (“Homosapien”) or irresistible charm (“You Know Better Than I Know,” “I Just Wanna Touch”). Fans will find this a quality release worth picking up, and by fans I mean stalwarts and not the people who get Pete Shelley and Peter Schilling confused.

TRACK LISTING

  1. WAITING FOR LOVE
  2. ON YOUR OWN
  3. THEY'RE COMING FOR YOU
  4. I SURRENDER
  5. LIFE WITHOUT REASON
  6. NEED A MINIT
  7. NEVER AGAIN
  8. MY DREAMS
  9. BLUE EYES
  10. YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY
  11. NO MOON

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  12. DESIGNER LAMPS
  13. PLEASE FORGIVE ME... BUT I CANNOT ENDURE IT ANY LONGER
  14. NELSON'S RIDDLE

    All songs written by Pete Shelley

CREDITS

PETE SHELLEY --
Health & Efficiency -- design
Chris Garnham -- photography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK June 1986 Mercury LP/CD/CS MERH 90  
WW June 1986 Mercury LP/CD/CS 830 004  
GER 1992 Line LP/CDX 941817 CD feat. bonus tracks

 

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