No-Man's first two albums are absolutely incredible, although they have utterly dreadful titles: 1991's Lovesighs: An Entertainment and, as if to prove that coming up with the worst album title ever is no reason not to come up with an even worse one, 1993's Loveblows & Lovecries: A Confession. What were they thinking? Come to think of it, those two titles might be the reason why No-man have never become even mildly famous, despite the wild critical acclaim heaped on the sheer quality of their early records not only by the arty music press, but by Smash Hits, too. They started out with the name "No Man Is An Island (Except The Isle Of Man)", which really is not a good name for a band. And they really do talk some pretentious bollocks, even by muso standards.
it was a mature work - surprisingly subtle and airy, and boasting a fragrant melodicism.
The hovering heartbreak of 'Things I Want To Tell You' showed that No-Man could still find new modes of expression - poised on the lip of breakdown, wringing the last drop of significance from inertia and despondency and flushing it with an unearthly beauty.
Flushing the last drop?
Creating a sound that's both contemporary and timeless, No-Man use a wide musical palette to orchestrate their disillusioned dream-pop songcraft.
I hate to say it, but my band have been described as dream-pop. But not by ourselves, at least.
However, when you hear the records, all of this can be forgiven. They are quite simply perfect. Even the bad prose, when transformed into lyrics, becomes good. Over the years, they've mixed pretty much every musical style there is, with the possible exception of death metal (thank God), and those first two albums sound pretty uniform in comparison: they're just very atmospheric dance music with a mad violinist. But they're still utterly fantastic, easily the best dance music anyone recorded between '87 and '95. I have them both on tape, because I didn't have one of them expensive new-fangled CD-players back in those days, and I've been wanting to get them on CD for ages. But they're both deleted. No-Man managed to reacquire the rights to the recordings from their old record label a few years ago and have been promising to re-release them since about 2000, but, exasperatingly, still haven't got around to it. And then, out of the blue, I find this: a special release of both albums on CD, brand new, imported from the USA via Germany by Amazon via German Music Express, for a mere £18.67, a perfectly good price for two albums. There's no mention of it anywhere on No-Man's site, so it looks like even the band don't know it's available.
So of course I bought it. As should you.
I know, I know: this doesn't look like that big a deal, but, trust me, it is. Literally dozens of fans (well, at least a dozen, probably) have been eagerly awaiting this release for years. I have had an astonishly crappy week, not to mention a very very bad year, so I'll take my good news where I can find it.