Cell 6118 Visions of Excess
Produced and Arranged by Anton Fier
Released on 1985
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
Cell 6118 cover  

A brilliant neo-pop album of tuneful, lyrical songs. According to The New Trouser Press Record Guide (third edition). I don’t agree. But I must be in error, since TP simply doesn’t make mistakes of this magnitude. Maybe it’s the murky vision of rock on the edge that has me troubled; Michael Stipe is a mumbler, Jack Bruce and Johnny Lydon likewise lurk under the mix, and even the lead guitars sometimes seem to slip back under the oily surface of songs like “Clustering Train.” I don’t hear what’s here that isn’t more evident on albums by R.E.M. and Arto Lindsay. “Omaha” is a fine tune, but the opening trio with Stipe doesn’t bespeak alternative rock better than Murmur, does it? Likewise, Lydon’s cameo on “The Animal Speaks” (a version with Jack Bruce on vocals was apparently also recorded) and Lindsay’s turn on “Only One Party” add little to what the artists have accomplished on their own. The real triumphs here belong to the guitarists (Jody Harris, Mike Hampton, Richard Thompson) and vocalist Syd Straw, whose “(Kind of) True” is the sort of tuneful neo-pop that Trouser Press is talking about. Visions of Excess took me a long time to appreciate, and dozens of listens later I’m still discovering things in songs like “Silver Bullet” and “Buenos Aires” that I didn’t hear before. No doubt the compact disc reveals more of the sonic nuances than the dry vinyl version I own, and maybe in that setting the record’s brilliance is revealed. I would think you could live without this album but Trouser Press felt otherwise, and I defer to experts here. Plus, there’s the nagging suspicion that this many talented players don’t assemble without some sort of planetary alignment taking place.

Cell 6118 back cover Cell 6118 promotional sleeve
Cell 6118 back cover Cell 6118 promotional sleeve


  1. BOY (GO)    (Anton Fier/Jody Harris/Michael Stipe)    5:19
  2. CLUSTERING TRAIN    (Anton Fier/Jody Harris/Michael Stipe)    6:04
  3. OMAHA    (Skip Spence)    3:08
  4. THE ANIMAL SPEAKS    (Robert Kidney)    4:22
  5. SILVER BULLET    (Anton Fier/Jody Harris/Syd Straw/Cullum)    4:57
  6. (KIND OF) TRUE    (Anton Fier/Jody Harris/Syd Straw)    4:43
  7. BUENOS AIRES    (Anton Fier/Nicky Skopelitis/Syd Straw)    3:43
  8. ONLY ONE PARTY    (Anton Fier/Jody Harris/Arto Lindsay)    4:40


ANTON FIER -- drums, DMX, percussion
JODY HARRIS -- guitars, slide guitar
SYD STRAW -- vocals, background vocal
RICHARD THOMPSON -- guitar, lead guitar
BERNIE WORRELL -- Hammond organ
Carla Bley -- Hammond organ (7)
Jack Bruce -- vocals and harp (5)
Mike Hampton -- lead guitar (2)
Henry Kaiser -- guitars (3)
Arto Lindsay -- guitar and vocals (8)
John Lydon -- vocals (4)
Nicky Skopelitis -- guitar (7)
Chris Stamey -- background vocal, guitar, piano
Michael Stipe -- vocals
Jean Karakos -- executive producer
"Iron" Mike Krowiak -- mixing
Dave Jerden -- mixing (3)
Seigen Ono -- mixing (8)
Don Hunerberg -- engineer
Rob Stevens, Hahn Rowe, Robert Musso, Doug Bennet, Walter Quintus, Tom Mark -- additional recording/engineers
Whitney Lowe -- album design
Carol Whaley -- photo

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US/FRA 1985 Celluloid LP/CS Cell 6118  
FRA   Celluloid CD CELL 5502  


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