Monday, July 27, 2009

New Wave for the New Week #20

The MembersThe Members via

Most people in the US who know of The Members know of one song, "Working Girl," which was a heavy-rotation clip in the earliest days of MTV. The scenes of a poolside party with band and guests being shoved fully-clothed into the water were used in numerous station promos, and the ultra-catchy chorus made it a minor hit.

It was also the last release for a band that had been around since 1976, when Nicky Tesco formed The Members with some of his buds in Cambridge, England, during the early days of the Punk Rock scene there. From the start, the band was fraught with internal dissent and external apathy. A churning lineup of musicians and a decent but not particularly individual sound saw the three albums they released during their six year lifespan sell much more poorly then hoped for, despite the fact that the band had delivered a couple of ace singles, including the aforementioned "Working Girl," the reggae-influenced "Offshore Banking Business," and this week's New Wave for the New Week Entry, 1978's "The Sound of the Suburbs".

"The Sound of the Suburbs"
flew up the UK singles chart, reaching #12, a success they would never again match in their homeland. It's a wonderful slice of early pre-hardcore, pre-Oi Punk, and sounds not just a little bit like early Clash.

Tesco quit the band in 1983, and that was it for The Members. Recently, the band reformed without Tesco, and have recorded a new single, a rewrite of "Offshore Banking Business" with lyrics dealing with the current state of the world economy, retitled "International Financial Crisis." Leaning more heavily on a dub-reggae sound and without Nicky Tesco's input, it falls a little bit flat to my ears. Apparently, a tour is in the works.

Here, then, is the performance clip for this week's NW4NW entry, "The Sound of the Suburbs" by The Members:

BONUS CLIP: Their best known song in America, 1982's "Working Girl"

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