Aug 3, 2016

RhoDeo 1631 Aetix


Today's artists are hailing from Ferryhill, County Durham, Penetration always stood outside the punk mainstream. Though they played their first ever gig at the infamous Roxy Club, London, their sound was dense, atmospheric and certainly musical. .... ....N'Joy

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Penetration is a punk rock band from County Durham, England formed in 1976. They re-formed in 2001 with several new members.

Their debut single, "Don't Dictate", is now acknowledged as a classic punk rock single[1][2] and their debut album, Moving Targets (1978), is still widely admired.

The lead singer is Pauline Murray. Other members have included Robert Blamire, Gary Smallman, and Gary Chaplin, and later Neale Floyd and Fred Purser. Steve Wallace and Paul Harvey were drafted in as new guitarists in 2001.

The band took their name from an Iggy & The Stooges song and played their first gig in October 1976. Their second gig was supporting The Stranglers at Newcastle City Hall. Significantly, the band also played at the now-legendary punk club The Roxy during its first 100 days. On 9 April 1977, the band appeared on the same bill as Generation X. Early in their career, the band also supported The Vibrators and toured with the Buzzcocks.[8]

After the release of their second single, Penetration recorded the first of two sessions for John Peel at BBC Radio 1 in July 1978. Later that year, the band released their debut album. Moving Targets was number 6 in the Sounds Critics' albums of the year; and it made number 13 in the NME critics' chart.

In 1979, they toured Europe, the US and Britain but the grueling schedule began to take its toll.[11] A disappointing reaction to Coming Up For Air, the second album, was the final nail in the coffin of the original band. After the band split in October an official bootleg album called Race Against Time was released, which was a collection of early demos and live tracks.

Interview with Pauline Murray
So, how did the first version of Penetration come about?

Gary Chaplin was at a different school, but I met him on the coach to Newcastle. He asked me if I would try singing. He had a drummer and a bass payer, and used to do covers of New York Dolls, Jonathon Richman, the Seeds, that type of thing. This was before we saw the Pistols.  Gary used to ring around venues and we got offered all the supports up here! The Stranglers rang us and asked us to support them at Newcastle City Hall. That was our second gig!

"Punk pulled everybody together – all total strangers, but we were all at the same place in our lives. "
Pauline Murray
Because there weren’t many punk bands around, we used to get offered all the supports up here. The Vibrators called us and we played Middlesbrough Rock Garden. We got a lot of exposure and a lot of experience.

Your early single, Don’t Dictate, fits fairly well into what was going on in 1977, but Moving Targets is different. It has a lot of atmosphere; a very dense sound. How did you arrive at that unique sound?

Don’t Dictate was with our first line-up; that was us learning, we’d never done it before. But we’d always try and push ourselves – we were never just content with a three-chord bash.

We did a lot of touring; toured with Buzzcocks, and then Virgin took us for one single. They suggested we add another person to the line-up, and we took their advice.  That was Fred Purser. If Moving Targets had not had Fred, there would have been less atmosphere to it.  We had producer Mike Howlett who’d worked on Don’t Dictate and the other singles, and Mick Glossop who were both very good, and brought even more out of us – so Moving Targets was a culmination of a couple of years work. There was a lot of story in it; we’d done a lot in that time, we’d developed a lot, and that’s why it’s atmospheric.

But you only made two albums?

The second album, Coming Up for Air, was a bit of a rush job compared to Moving Targets.

We had half of it written, then went to America for five weeks, and when we came back, we went straight into the studio. The rest of the band were coming up with backing tracks, giving them to me, and I had to put the words and the tune to them; the pressure was just unbearable.

It was at that point that Neil said he wanted to leave the band, which sent us into an implosion. I was feeling the pressure. We had a full tour booked.  I thought “I can’t carry on”. It was too much. It was a burn-out situation.

I’d had enough. It started out as fun and enjoyment – but this was just a hassle. I wanted out. I was 23 at the time....

In 1980 Pauline Murray collaborated with The Invisible Girls, which also included Robert Blamire as well as other Manchester musicians such as Vini Reilly, guitarist in The Durutti Column, and Steve Hopkins. John Maher from Buzzcocks drummed for the band. Produced by Martin Hannett, the resulting album spawned the singles "Dream Sequence" and "Mr.X". Murray also provided guest vocals for The Only Ones on their track, "Fools".

Pauline Murray worked sporadically as a solo artist under the name 'Pauline Murray and The Storm' with Robert Blamire, Tim Johnston and Paul Harvey. Paul Harvey is also a Stuckist artist. Blamire also worked as a producer for various groups, including Scars, whose sole LP (1981's Author! Author!) he produced.

The remainder of the band briefly continued under the name Rhythm Clicks, releasing a 7" single in 1980 on the Red Rhino label containing the songs "Short Time", "Lies Don't Talk" and "Chains".

A decidedly more "rawk" proposition than many of the three-chord trainee anarchists on the scene, Murray drawing inevitable comparisons with both Patti Smith and Siouxsie Sioux for her force of personality and the strength / style of her voice.

In 2015 Penetration announced the release of a new album called Resolution in October. The current line-up of the band is Pauline Murray, Robert Blamire, John Maher (ex-Buzzcocks) Paul Harvey and Steve Wallace

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Buoyed by the sheer magnificence of their "Don't Dictate" debut single, Penetration's debut album stands among the very last true greats of the first wave of British punk offerings. A glorious collision of adrenalized exuberance and astonishing energies, topped by Pauline Murray's unmistakably soaring vocals, Moving Targets wrapped 11 tracks across its two sides of vinyl, and it was the greatest indication of their quality that it wasn't till you reached the end that you realized "Don't Dictate" itself was absent. In its stead, "Stone Heroes," the explosive "Movement," and the swirlingly atmospheric "Vision" were all classics in the making, while a cover of Patti Smith's "Free Money" is simply spellbinding, crunchier than the original but more emotive, too. And then there's the opening bars of the title track, a hilarious reminder of how fast things were changing back then -- it's the Pistols' "Holidays in the Sun," and doesn't it sound old-fashioned! All of which illustrates the sheer versatility bound up in the band. In another lifetime, they could have given the likes of Led Zeppelinand Deep Purple a run for their money, at least in terms of demonstrating dexterity, and it was Penetration's bad luck that they were riding a wave that had little time for such abilities. Not that they allowed the disappointment to show. Moving Targets shrugs aside most of punk's archetypes as it rockets along, while the decision to cover the Buzzcocks' "Nostalgia" reminds listeners that Penetration weren't the only band around that didn't give a toss for fashionable accessories. Of course, that determination would lead to the disappointment of the band's second album -- and, thereafter, their demise. As of mid-1978, however, Moving Targets could only herald a dazzling future.

Penetration - Moving Targets (flac 349mb)

01 Future Daze 2:57
02 Life's A Gamble 2:59
03 Lover Of Outrage 3:55
04 Vision 3:25
05 Silent Community 3:29
06 Stone Heroes 3:14
07 Movement 3:23
08 Too Many Friends 3:13
09 Reunion 4:01
10 Nostalgia 3:46
11 Free Money 4:48
Bonus Tracks
12 Don't Dictate 2:56
13 Money Talks 1:42
14 Firing Squad 3:03
15 Never 2:16
16 V.I.P. 2:38

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The spiky aspirations of their debut album and first few singles notwithstanding, Penetration was always a more convincing hard rock band than most punks gave them credit for. The glee with which they unveiled a twin-guitar lineup, the faith they placed in songs with titles like "She Is the Slave" and "Shout Above the Noise," and, if hindsight be the guide, the accuracy with which they predicted the entire New Wave of British Heavy Metal outbreak -- all these things place Penetration in a very different bag to that they normally wriggle around in. Guitarist Fred Purser went on to form the Tygers of Pan Tang. That should tell you everything. Released in late 1979, their second album, Coming Up for Air, is the sound of the group embracing that destiny. Critically pummeled at the time and often overlooked thereafter, it is a far cry from the scratchy urchins who unleashed "Don't Dictate" a mere year earlier, a rip-roaring, riff-heavy leviathan that places its focus on Purser and Neale Floyd's wailing guitars, then layers Pauline Murray's banshee-bark vocals atop of them. Unfortunately, in ripping apart the punk formbook, Penetration also tore up their songwriting manual. Without exception, the ten songs on the original album are uniformly leaden, while two live bonus tracks merely amplify the band's lumpen metal pretensions. Only "Danger Signs," the third bonus track and the band's last memorable single, stands proud, but even that is not a recommendation.

Penetration - Coming Up For Air (flac 286mb)

01 Shout Above The Noise 4:04
02 She Is The Slave 3:08
03 Last Saving Grace 2:55
04 Killed In The Rush 1:48
05 Challenge 3:58
06 Come Into The Open 2:50
07 What's Going On 3:06
08 Party's Over 2:49
09 On Reflection 2:09
10 Lifeline 2:52
11 New Recruit 3:01
Bonus Tracks
12 Danger Signs 2:27
13 Stone Heroes (Live) 3:17
14 Vision (Live) 3:26

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Although Penetration's debut, Moving Targets, is smoother and better produced, it doesn't pack the raw wallop and bristling energy of this collection of demos and live recordings cut from 1977-79. The live side, recorded in the band's hometown of Newcastle, provides the greatest thrills per song, but ultimately the Penetration saga is one of missed opportunity and overinflated expectations. Most importantly, "Don't Dictate" is here in demo form, and it still sounds pretty great, although the version that shows up on the CD reissue of Moving Targets sounds better. Tracks 3-1 to 3-16 originally released in January 1980 as an "official bootleg". All tracks produced by Penetration

Penetration - Race Against Time (flac 301mb)

DEMOS 1977 - JAN 78
01 Duty Free Technology 1:56
02 Firing Squad 2:42
03 Race Against Time 2:05
04 In The Future 2:23
05 Free Money 3:30
06 Never 2:32
07 V.I.P. 2:43
08 Silent Community 3:22
09 Don’t Dictate 2:58
10 Come Into The Open (Live) 2:56
11 Movement (Live) 2:56
12 Lovers Of Outrage (Live) 3:48
13 She Is The Slave (Live) 3:13
14 Too Many Friends (Live) 2:27
15 Killed In The Rush (Live) 1:55
16 Danger Signs (Different Studio Version) 3:18

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Tracks 1 to 4 John Peel Session recorded on 5 July 1978 and transmitted on 10 July 1978
Recorded at Maida Vale Studio 4, produced by Bob Sargeant and engineered by Nick Gomm.
Tracks 5 to 7 John Peel Session recorded on 28 February 1979 and transmitted on 7 March 1979
Recorded at Maida Vale Studio 4, produced by John Sparrow and engineered by Nick Gomm.
Tracks 8 to 16 recorded at The Paris Theatre, London, on 7 July 1979 for BBC 1 In Concert
Produced by Jeff Griffin.

Penetration - At The BBC (flac 369mb)

John Peel Session (July 1978)
01 Future Daze 3:52
02 Vision 3:26
03 Stone Heroes 3:22
04 Movement 3:04
John Peel Session (March 1979)
05 Danger Signs 2:40
06 Last Saving Grace 2:26
07 She Is The Slave 1:55
BBC In Concert (July 1979)
08 On Reflection 2:09
09 Danger Signs 2:47
10 Lovers Of Outrage 3:59
11 She Is The Slave 3:20
12 Come Into The Open 2:55
13 Movement 3:12
14 Nostalgia 4:04
15 Free Money 4:08
16 Stone Heroes 3:38

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Anonymous said...
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AliBoingo said...

Hi Rho, many thanks for these.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot. Great band and still playing live after all these years!