Caught You - album review

Ian Penman in NME

5 July 1980

Steel Pulse in relaxed mode. They might not be so relaxed once they read this album review.

"I'm interested in reggae because it wounds or seduces me," said the Ghost of Roland Barthes, mindful of a recent NME article on Linton Kwesi Johnson. "Can that be a class error? A white, liberal bourgeois fetishism? Surely not. The bourgeoisie has no relish when it comes to (erratic) (erotic) language, which it cannot employ as a disruptive element in day-to-day living. Musically, for them, is only an instrument of decor, a mere trace of production - and reggae (hub) (of dub), at its highest and sketchiest, is definitely more a production of traces. The character of its aesthetic is the abrupt loss of continuity: the unexpected cut-away, the irruption. It is a music of purest impulse, a politic skein stretched over clandestine rhythm." [Ed - I've never read such crap in an album review].

And the first thing to say about Steel Pulse is that, no, I can't dance to them. Steel Pulse have a great future behind them.

Caught You is so wholesome, so achieved, so pretty, so polite - so dull. Caught You is skank-floss and streamlines and big deals going up and down about nothing much. The opening song 'Drug Squad,' for example, is a proclamation of self-pity in the face of the long face of the law, the singer having tried to take some dope through customs and customs seeing, customs doing as customs will, they search and find. And, so what? The only moral to the tale I can find is an immoral one - ie, I would advise the singer that if he wants to smuggle drugs through customs there are more igenious places to put than, quote, your "big boots".

'Shining' is about the sun shining. It is what is known as a filler - always such a sad affair; or rather, the state of affairs which makes them necessary is. And this is a record of fillers.

Text copyright New Musical Express 1980, used without permission.

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