The Urinals - Negative Capability 2xLP
Label: In The Red
100 Flowers and The Urinals were essentially the same band, although with the name switch, came a pretty big stylistic shift as well, with the group angling for something more arty and poppy. But truth be told, even as The Urinals, their sound was pretty poppy and arty, more raw, more lo-fi, maybe a bit more, minimal and rhythmic and new wave, But ultimately this collection of the Urinals complete recorded works plays as a sort of rough and raw 100 Flowers demo, which is not a bad thing at all.
So many amazing songs here, some serious pop genius on display, making the shift to 100 Flowers not all that surprising after all. "Black Hole" has a serious Yellow Pills power pop vibe, right down to the harmony vocals, and then there's "Sex," which is noisy and punky, but also poppy as all get out, or "Hologram" which might be our favorite track here, a strange bit of muted murky jangle, with tranced out tribal drumming, weirdly crooned vocals, the whole thing so weirdly minor key and mantra-like, and of course "Surfin' With The Shah," which is another surfy, jangly instrumental that for sure foreshadows the impending shift to 100 Flowers. And you might recognize "Ack Ack Ack Ack," frantic and frenetic, and not surprisingly later covered by the Minutemen, it's a strange collection for sure, sonically super varied, everything the group ever recorded, over the three years they were a band (1977-1980), from snotty snarly punk anthems ("I'm White And Middle Class"), to jangly, hook heavy pop punk ("Scholastic Aptitude"), to noisy lo-fi hardcore stomps ("Go Away Girls"), to twisted jangly sing-alongs laced with wild freakouts ("I Hate"), to angular post-punk crunch ("Presence Of Mind"), to organ driven surf-garage ("I'm Like You"), to reverby twang flecked jangle ("Orange Anal Sin"), and so much more.
There are a ton of live tracks too, including a Soft Machine cover (!), as well as an acoustic version of "Sex" which had us thinking of the Dead Milkmen! WAY recommended, especially if you dug that 100 Flowers reissue, odds are you're gonna love this too!