Bristol Archive Records Blog

The Escape ‘Is Nothing Sacred’



(Bristol Archive Records)


Review published by


Bristol Archive Records is a welcome addition to retrospective delvers of vinyl, as there were some great bands from that area during Punk/Post-Punk and they’ve started with releases by The Cortinas, The Escape and Electric Guitars, all much undervalued due their existences, and the website contains some fascinating details. Check out the arcane equipment which cost a positive fortune back in the day! Mike Darby also runs Sugar Shack Records, of which BAR is a subsidiary, which is worth rooting through as further glories lay lurking there, including the wonderful Fear Of Darkness.

It’s fitting I review this now after recently expressing how fundamentally Manchester had been so disappointing, when Bristol’s bands seem more interesting but yet lacked the media support to highlight their activities. Given a full blooded but glossy production, all of The Escape’s songs rustle with vibrant activity, with ‘Eden’ sliding along with stiff drumming, little dramatic pauses, nicely visual wordy lyrics (‘your umbrellas of torture, hang over me everywhere’), chiming guitar and flowing, gluey bass.

 ‘Twenty Four Hours’ has a central prodding, plodding bass, and a disciplined direction, dour guitar and drums hemming the doomy vocals in. The mood lifts in a sublimely strident ‘The Retrospect’ as the bass scoots along with the drums, and the guitar ascends onto the shoulders of the burbling singer and it stamps off hotly towards a curving horizon. From this point onwards things remain imposing but involving. ‘I’ll Pretend To Kill You’ is tossed around by the wily guitar, with taut vocal drama gathering force in a mutant catchy drift. Now they’re up they bolt and bustle through ‘Nogo’ with mildly top and ticklish guitar riding the bucking and wonderfully fluid bass to a histrionic close. ‘The Difference Between’ is more deadpan and deviously gloomy, with ‘Unknown War’ finding more shady guitar slipping into a fitful mood, with the distressed singing and fleet of feet rhythm keeping things springy in quite a pretty atmosphere. ‘Desolation’ is also dark, as their sound fits in with a Gothier edge to Post-Punk activity as the great Music For Pleasure once did (the band I would most easily compare The Escape to), all elements tugging on the same immoveable mental enemy.

The looser, lubricious ‘Truth Drug’ is dank but spiky, and restless with a turbulent spleen, as the crisply delineated ‘Girl In The Phone Box’ survives despite being fairly undemanding. The angsty ‘Murder’ shudders more urgently, like a simplistic burly Bauhaus. Keeping the variety going throughout ‘Is Nothing Sacred’ is agitated angles and nodules with closer ‘Silent Running’ relatively upbeat but ambivalent allowing the album a graceful but clever end, in that nothing I emphatic and leads you back into a circle of listening. It’s an excellent album and the only thing I think both label sites need to ensure they do is set up a myspace page per band that you can access from their own myspace pages, because we need easily obtainable info on them all.

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