Funny how the most passing, inconsequential mention of a band can inspire the most ferocious curiosity on my part. In 1991 I’d picked up the then-new CD reissue of the first two Suicide albums, and after not being able to listen to anything else for weeks on end decided to play a game: Whenever someone else mentioned Suicide and another band in the same breath, I’d go find out what that other band was. It didn’t take long before someone mentioned “Suicide and Chrome”, and within the week I had Touch ‘n Go’s CD reissue of Chrome’s Half Machine Lip Moves / Alien Soundtracks in my hands.
Actually, the sight of the album alone would probably have prompted me to buy it: its funky hand-lettered cover, vaguely sci-fi photography (I’ve wondered for a long time where that inset photograph on the front is from), and explicitly sci-fi song titles like “March of the Chrome Police”, “Nova Feedback”, “Chromosome Damage” and “All Data Lost” lured me right in. Then I spun the CD up and out came this KKKKKKKKKKRRRRRRRRRRRR of a guitar skronk that sounded like ZZ Top succumbing to Leatherface’s chainsaw massacre. It didn’t take long to understand why Suicide were mentioned in the same breath: like Suicide, they played the most blisteringly crude music I’d ever heard. At a time when “lo-fi” was not a term of musical endearment, they put out records that not only sounded like they had been miked directly into a cheap boombox but would make everything else that you played on your stereo sound like that, too. Read more