Exposé Online banner

Pere Ubu — New Picnic Time
(Thirsty Ear thi 570702, 1979/1999, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-05-01

New Picnic Time Cover art

The third album in the Pere Ubu canon is one where the group appears to be in a more playful mode rather than on their acclaimed sophomore album, Dub Housing (1978). They had matured a bit since their Cleveland inception, and still managed to remain uncategorizable, thus why the five piece was dropped into the New Wave of the day. David Thomas gives the ten track proceedings a Tiny Tim pandemonium vocal styling, which is more whimsical rather than abrasive on this album. Maybe that comes from adjusting your earpiece or more likely due to tastes changing in the past twenty years. Probably his best singing is on "49 Guitars & One Girl" with a twangy guitar and sick synthesizer accompaniment. Thomas is both beat poet and performance artist, embracing opposing sides of recitation and prose. Another notable, mostly instrumental piece, "A Small Dark Cloud," opens with bird chirps underpinned by tympani shots, indicating the band branching out into "freestyle" arrangements. They were keen to use squawks and toys as well as stabbing organ swirls in their small world of controlled chaos, with bleak effect. "Goodbye" is a great contrasting piece, which shows a stretch into the mode of the disturbing and ominous. Thirsty Ear has done an excellent job preserving the packaging of the original release as well improving the sound quality with CD transfer.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1999 releases, 1979 recordings

Related artist(s): Pere Ubu

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Machiavel - Mechanical Moonbeams – This is at least the third CD reissue of this third album by the Belgian band Machiavel: a near-bootleg issue transferred from scratchy vinyl was released in the late 80s, then last year it was...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues