Lydia Lunch - Honeymoon In Red LP


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Label: Bang

Our Review:

Honeymoon In Red began as the name of a band that Lydia Lunch conceived of in Berlin, 1982 in collaboration with the two Australian avant-rockers Genevieve McGuckin and Roland S. Howard. The latter was still a member of the Birthday Party, who had recently relocated to Germany, and the other members of The Birthday Party (Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, and Tracy Pew) participated in all of the recording sessions. However, Cave and Harvey expressed reservations about the mix and the quality control, resulting in a massive falling out with Lunch. By 1987, she approached J.G. Thirlwell and Thurston Moore to complete the recordings, seeking Thirlwell's production prowess and Moore's incendiary guitar noise. When she finally published the album through her own Widowspeak, Lunch ascribed the band's name as the title to this, her own record.

Given the heavyweight contributions to Honeymoon In Red, this album has been strangely overlooked, yet remains one of the most accomplished works in Lunch's illustrious career. Whatever reservations Cave and Harvey had at the time over the production are more than made up with Thirlwell's skill. This album is as good as anything that The Birthday Party did at the time, with Lunch's caterwauling and mewled invocations replacing Cave's gut-wrenching exorcisms to profound effect. Lunch and Cave offer two duets that hint at what may have happened had these two been able to get along for more than these recording sessions. Not surprisingly, Lunch et al. paint the album in stark dramatic contrasts, with jagged snarls of swaggering punk blues and car-crashing no wave frenzied atonality. The band is at its best on the lengthy "Three Kings," arranged by McGuckin, who lays down a hyper-repetitive, minimalist riff on her dark carnival organ with Lunch transfixed in zombified monotone. "Dead In The Head" and "Done Dun" stand as as those two brilliantly nightmarish Lunch / Cave duets, with Roland S. Howard taking up the lead vocals on one track "Still Burning" that Lunch would later cover on her In Limbo album a few years later.