Lifetones, aka Charles Bullen and Julius Cornelius Samuel
Last November, Light in the Attic Records released vinyl reissues of the three studio recordings—two albums and a 12-inch EP—made by brilliant British trio This Heat
, helping a new cohort of fans discover a group that still deserves more acclaim. I've written about This Heat plenty of times over the years, including in 2006, upon the release of an essential box set of the band's complete recordings, Out of Cold Storage
, which augmented those studio efforts with Peel sessions, remixes, live recordings, and other ephemera. In February a two-day festival at London's Cafe Oto called This Is Not This Heat celebrated the ongoing interest in the group. Surviving members Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward—the third member, Gareth Williams, died in 2001—were joined by the likes of Thurston Moore
, Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor,
and Grumbling Fur's Daniel O'Sullivan to revisit its timeless catalog.
More recently Light in the Attic filled out the post-This Heat story by reissuing the 1983 release For a Reason
, the only album by Lifetones—a solo project for which Bullen recruited percussionist Julius Cornelius Samuel, a reggae drummer he'd met in a neighborhood junk shop. The record, released on Bullen's own Tone of Life imprint, went nowhere and has long been incredibly rare. I've been reading about it for years, but I'd never had a chance to hear it until the reissue surfaced last month. Reggae grooves and dub techniques figure heavily into the six tracks—there's also some Augustus Pablo-inspired melodica action—but thanks to Bullen's nasal monotone and the glassy brilliance of his guitar lines, For a Reason
doesn't sound like much else produced then or now. It lacks the punch and innovation of what Bullen did in This Heat, but there are some stunning moments, including today's 12 O'Clock Track
, "Decide." You won't miss the Jamaican influence, but Bullen's luminescent guitar steals the show, its shimmering, rapidly moving patterns broken up into jagged chunks through spot-on use of dub techniques.
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