[sic] Magazine

The Lucy Show – …undone

Words On Music is a tasteful label. The Lucy Show’s …undone comes as a perfect companion piece to the excellent new For Against album, the only shock being, …undone is a 25 year old re-release. If you never knew The Lucy Show don’t be too hard on yourself. I count myself a rabid post-punk fan and yet they managed to pass even me by.

Potted history – two ex-pat Canadians Rob Vandeven and Mark Bandola met in London and eventually settled on their classic, four-piece, line-up, augmented by Pete Barraclough and Bryan Hudspeth. Signed to A&M, The Lucy Show scored plenty of airplay with the likes of Peel and particularly US college radio, without quite breaking through into the hearts and imaginations of the UK music weeklies and their readership. On its initial release …undone went to No1 in the US College chart but misfortune hit when a re-shuffle of top execs at A&M left The Lucy Show without a champion at the label. They were subsequently dropped.

You don’t really expect a band called The Lucy Show to be dark and frosty. The name has fun connotations. There was a TV Lucy Show, the follow up to I Love Lucy. The name evokes safe, screwball comedy. Light entertainment. The Lucy Show (band) present the polar opposite – shadowy, spacious music with a nod to the likes of The Sound and The Cure. The music in fact is slightly schizophrenic, the result of having two main songwriters. The half of the album that was penned by Vandeven, is strongly reminiscent of early Cure, a factor not diminished by Vandeven’s strained a phrasecroak of a vocal. The Bandola-fronted tracks tend to be lighter in tone. His voice has a similar accentuated vowel style to Julian Cope.

“Been watching the dreeeeeeeeeeeeeam
Fall into the seeeeeeeeeeeea”

That line (from ‘Wipe Out’) could so easily have been from The Teardrop Explodes. And although clear comparisons can be drawn with many of new wave and post punks most iconic bands this light, psychedelic side to The Lucy Show shows how they were pioneering dream pop even as far back as the mid-80’s. …undone has some classic cuts too. Bandola’s ‘Ephemeral’ would have fit perfectly with the Brit-invasion period MTV. This is a song to stand comfortably alongside Modern English’s ‘Melt With You’, Psychedelic Furs ‘Heaven’, or The Church’s ‘Under The Milky Way’. Vandeven though, plays McCartney to Bandola’s Lennon. The bass on ‘Remembrances’ is fantastic, elevating the song from sixties-tinged beat-pop into darker territories more akin to The The’s ‘Infected’. Another Vandeven bass highlight is the tremendous ‘Better On The Hard Side’.

That they didn’t have a strong enough foothold either side of the Atlantic is a pity. Their dream probably did fall into the sea. Listening now, it is clear just how underrated the Lucy Show really were. The way this re-mastered album sounds really suits today’s market. ‘The Twister’, for example is structurally similar (but vastly superior) to Editors – ‘ Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool’, In fact the Bandola-fronted tracks generally bring to mind White Lies. But whereas White Lies proved disappointingly unauthentic, Lucy Show sound sincere and convincing. Their 1985 sound is perfect for now. I guess Words On Music anticipated as much and pushed for this re-release. Bless ‘em for that because I for one would not have wanted to miss out.