gullbuy music review

The Door and the Window


Detailed Twang


Overground Records


The Door and the Window CD coverEnglish no wave from the early 80s, from a time when The Pop Group were gaining momentum, and The Desperate Bicycles (two obvious references) were crashing.

The Desperate Bicycles started many punk bands on the path with their call to action at the end of their Smokescreen / Handlebars 7inch (which had the same two songs on both sides) on Refill Records. "It was easy, it was cheap. Go and do it!." The Desperate Bicycles said you don't need skill, just the interest.

The Door and the Window took that credo and started a band without having any musical talent (or desire to gain so) whatsoever. All they had was the energy of creation, some equipment, and inertia from playing opening slots with bands they idolized.

'Detailed Twang' is a re-issue of a 1980 full length of the same name, with eleven bonus tracks added in. Instrumentation was a cheap guitar, a collection of second hand tape recorders, and a cheap synth.

The band consisted of two guys: Nag (electronics/vocals)and Bendle (guitar/vocals). On these recordings the two were joined by Mark Perry (the editor of famous punk zine Sniffin' Glue) on drums/sax/vocals. Later they were joined by Else Watt on drums.

The CD starts off with Dads. It has music that reminds me of the sound of NYC no wave bands of 1980, with very English sounding vocals like the early Rough Trade bands, which The Door and the Window were.

Dads sounds like it could have been a single on Absurd Records, the label that released classic DIY punk/no wave 45s by Blah Blah Blah (In the Army b-w Why Diddle?) and Gerry and the Holograms 'Meet the Dissidents' single (Gerry and the Holograms b-w Increased Resistance).

We Do Scare Each Other is my favorite track on the disc, largely due to the toy keyboard which sounds like the OMD song electricity. Sadly the song ends by just fading out, as if the one idea they had for the track was never resolved into a full vision.

There is a cover of Television Personalities Part-Time Punks and a whole lot of originals that sometimes sound inspired, and other times like sounds coming up from below as you walk over a bridge at twilight, when the homeless punks are gathered and singing modern day shanties from below.

Many of the songs are not much to listen to . One song (Wurst Band) was created on the spot during the recording session, based on a comment someone from the studio had just made about them. Wurst Band consists of "You're the worst band I ever heard" drunkenly repeated over and over with variation.

But many of the songs ARE fun to listen to, and will remind anyone just how far a band could go in 1980 to create art without pretense. There are many contemporary bands that owe a debt to The Door and the window. I Like Sound reminds me of Cambridge MA artcore band Fat Day.

Overground Records has been a consistently good label. They took a chance (most of their releases are straight punk bands) and hit gold with this one.

---Carl, January 6, 2004