Hello readers all over, and welcome back to radio-SAT! It’s Wednesday, and it’s underheralded post-punk gems time again. The Au Pairs got their start in Birmingham in 1978, and released their first single on 021 Records. It featured “You,” “Domestic Departure,” and “Kerb Crawler.” As other bands did back in the day, they have a bit of fun with the format, and scratch “sink into his arms” and “arms in the sink” into the vinyl.
NME’s Paul Morley caught their 2 Sept 1980 gig at the London ICA, and offered prose that echoed earlier impressions of The Clash: “The group are out to shatter prejudices, challenge your sanity, patience, complacency. They perform with an almost mad commitment that makes all their songs riveting.” Their debut LP, Playing with a Different Sex (May 1981), includes a re-recorded version of “It’s Obvious,” and draws rave reviews. Sounds’ Dave McCullough regarded the LP as “a truly sensuous didactic record … [it] strikes a magic modern chord of common sense.” Playing climbed to #33 on the UK charts, and “It’s Obvious” reached #37 on the club play singles in the US. The album itself remains a real post-punk gem, and is worth checking out on the anthology of all their recorded output on the Au Pairs anthology on iTunes. iTunes may be an imperfect distribution system, but I give them credit for dealing with all the necessary lawyers to get a package like this to the marketplace.
Here’s a taste of what they were capable of live, where they really solidified their reputation. While the sound isn’t bad, it’d be great if some punk-o-phile sound engineer could get ahold of the Hurrah masters and clean things up just a tad.
Have a reverb-filled week, and we’ll see you Sunday!