Sunday, 24 May 2020

Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay ‎– Snake Charmer (1983)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Island Records, Polystar, Universal

1.   Snake Charmer
2.   Hold On To Your Dreams
3.   It Was A Camel
4.   Sleazy
5.   Snake Charmer (Reprise)

Backing Band – Invaders Of The Heart
Bass, Vocals – Jah Wobble
Keyboards – Ollie Marland
Percussion – Neville Murray
Written-By – Kevorkian, Czukay, Jah Wobble, Marland
Producer – Francois Kevorkian

Yes, it was the Eighties as you can hear from the first stuttering synths on this overwrought supersession. Bassist Jah Wobble was post-Public Image Limited, The Edge from U2 clearly at a loose end (although a decade away from letting go on Achtung Baby) and multi-instrumentlist Czukay from Can probably quite liked the idea of getting into a studio for a series of free-flowing sessions. 
Others who dropped in during the recording of the Snake Chartmer mini-album were Can's Jaki Liebezeit, jazz-funk singer Marcella Allen and guitarist Animal. 
Wobble had already explored "Islamic funk" with his Invaders of the Heart band but here got down with some weird amalgam of Eurobeat hooked to Afro-funk of the Talking Heads kind. Mat Snow in NME at the time generously described the five tracks as "all good but somewhat lacking in unity" and "displaying more on and off the wall wit" than his old "boss" from PIL, John Lydon, was managing to muster. 
In truth it is a lumpy mini-album but this reprise has a little something going for it, a silly vocal part atop wittering techno-beats and faux-funk, slashes of keyboards and guitars and a kitchen-sink approach to production by Francois Kervorkian (which is even more all-in on the opening version of whcih this is a reprise). 
Not a landmark or even a scratch in sand in many ways, but much more enjoyable than it is "interesting". 
And it gave them all something to do for a while.
Graham Reid / Elsewhere

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