Bristol Archive Records Blog

The Escape – Album Review

After the melodious ’77 punk of The Apartment, frontman Alan Griffiths and drummer Emil decided to go to the next level and team up with the new post-punk movement. As a three-piece, bassist Stuart Morgan completed the line-up, their aim was to create compelling¬† music with modest means. This resulted in a sound that grabbed you instantly, but never got so catchy that it would make for succesful top-40 material. Their passioned cool did however attract the attention of Radio One DJ Peter Powell and a recording session was the result. Then suddenly Phonogram offered them a contract and stardom was within reach. Emil however unexpectedly decided to leave the band which left Alan and Stuart to handle the deal. Just what happened to a likewise talented band at that time, The Comsat Angels, the major label was pushing the band to go for a poppy, radio friendly sound. Even with the help of several producers, including Associates’ Alan Rankine, the outcome was disappointing. In their original form however they were a very solid and vital band. Is Nothing Sacred compiles the complete recordings of The Escape, with the exception of “Relapse collapse”.
From shimmering to stern, the guitar play on the melodious “Eden” is diverse, the passionate vocals of Alan come out clear. Crescendos that seductively unfold add to the tension. With “Twenty four hours” that tension is turned into anxiety, delivered in well-placed doses. The piercing guitars and Alan’s dramatic voice make for a stirring track. “The retrospect” starts melancholic with low-key glistening guitar, the tense percussion however casts its shadow on the agitated chorus. “Nogo”, The Escape’s lone single, is a lost post-punk classic. Emotional, restless and grievious, it grabs you and doesn’t let go. The pronounced bass and elementary yet invigorating percussion of that single’s B-side, “I’ll pretend to kill you”, form a nice combination with the rather high-pitched yet amiable lead guitar. Again some suspenseful passages provide for additional intensity. “The difference between” features synths, a rare element in The Escape’s instrumentation. Thanks to an urgent groove this is a driving track. The resemblance to Bauhaus crops up, also because of Alan’s vocal timbre. Strident yet tuneful guitars characterize “Unknown war” and “Desolation”, a sticky bass is on the forefront on “Truth drug”. “Girl in the phone box” is remarkably subdued, although you expect it to increase in ferocity at any moment. On the swirling “Murder” that contained viciousness is unleashed. The strolling title track and the yearning, plaintive “Silent running” close this striking overview.

Band: Escape, the (UK)(int)
Label: Bristol Archive Records
Genre: gothic (gothic rock / (dark)wave / postpunk / batcave)
Type: cd  
Grade: 8.3
Review by: Nightporter

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