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24 September 2014
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Performance – (We Are) Performance

Chris Long
A few years back, a bunch of Americans decided to take New Order’s sound, splice it with a few other 80s references, repackage it and sell it back to us.

(We Are) Performance
(We Are) Performance

Like idiots, we bought it and The Killers were on the path to riches. Listening to Performance’s debut makes you wonder why we couldn’t have held on for the homegrown.

(We Are) Performance would have been worth that wait. Rather than the rip-off supplied by those Vegas boys, it is album of intelligence, doffing its hat to its inspirations (step forward Phil Oakey and Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Martyn Ware) and, without ever being overpowered by them, pushing electronica-fuelled rock onwards and upwards to glories.

Of course, it could have been very different. Had they released the first take of this album, recorded in their ill-fated time with Polydor, there may not have been the variety of flavours that course through the 12 songs offered on this eponymous debut.

But they decided not to. Instead, they binned it, re-wrote it and recorded anew. As a result, they’ve ended up being dropped from their label but have an album they are much happier with. And the truth is that one listen tells you they chose the right path.

It is a real pick’n’mix fun bag of textures and tunes. Want to throw yourself around like a lunatic? There’s the onomatopoeic joy of Short Sharp Shock. Looking for something more emotional? Take the sparse electro winter of Say It In Your Hands (Chernobyl). Need the final moments of a relationship or the ennui of modern life summing up? Try a bit of The Ending or Market Street.

In fact, the only downside is that their brooding cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ hasn’t managed to sneak on as a hidden track, but then you can’t have everything, can you?

It may have come a year or so later than it was originally expected, but Performance have finally produced the only thing you ever wanted from them: one of the best debut albums you’ll hear all year.

last updated: 14/06/07
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