Having been blessed by the presence of former Techno Twin Bev Sage on last week’s Mr Trick & Wrongtom show, I figured it was only right that we delve into the skankier parts of her back catalogue starting with a couple of new wave near misses by Writz.
Writz rose from the wake of Steve Fairnie and Steve Rowles’ folk-gospel group Fish-Co releasing just one album in ’79 as new wave dominated the UK charts.
With 10cc’s Godley & Creme at the boards, and lead single Night Nurse making moderate noise, it’s sad that their eponymous LP never achieved the band’s potential. Bev herself believes the recordings never quite captured the energy of their live shows, as is often the case with many a frenetic and visual act but having been little more than a toddler at the time, and with only this album to go on, I’m pleased to say that there’s definitely some magic to behold herein.
So, on to the Bologna business with a brace of spiky(ish) skankers from the said LP. Whilst not the greatest example of Writz’ often absurdist take on new wave, both tracks feature a fresh take on the rock reggae crossover, with Fairnie’s mouth percussion going head to head with syn-drums and flourishes of hi-hats on Drive Away, giving way to the almost AOR of the chorus. On the other hand TV Times opts for that mechanical thud which harks back to The Stranglers’ Peaches with a cathode ray guitar/synth line cutting through the rhythm section just in case you got too comfortable amidst it’s lounging lope.
Living in the not so desirable Nottinghill of the late seventies, Writz were surrounded by Jamaican music, with the call of carnival being ever present even when it wasn’t on. As Bev explained when we touched on the subject of reggae and punks the other night “it wasn’t our background but we loved it… the background we were coming from, we didn’t have that language, we didn’t want to pastiche it, we just wanted to respect it”.
Likewise I love Writz, and always eager to share such love, I’ve uploaded Drive Away and TV Times for you to check out below…
And of course the obligatory TV spot – Writz’ chugging disco stomper Night Nurse recorded live for RPM back in 1979.