Peel recognised it. So did Fluff. In 1979 The Transmitters were several decades and decibels ahead of even the most hardened post punk rocker. Now we’ve had our urban ears syringed by the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Killers, we can all slip as comfortably into The Transmitters new compilation album, “I fear no one”, as if it was a comfy old pair of slippers. Only a lot louder.
“Ah transmit me baby” moaned an ecstatic John Peel in 1979 as the final bar crashed to a close on the first of the two full-throttle Peel Sessions the band were invited to record. The entire four-track session is featured on their new CD along with other belligerent memorables such as “Dead Siamese Sister” which Melody Maker’s Chris Roberts described at the time as “one of their frenetic mutant paranoid stream-of-consciousness bohemian jazz-noise anthems which like very much to grab you by the retinae and throw you across the doghouse walls”. Of “Ache”, also featured on the new CD, he said it was “their finest murky mope, which sorely tempts me to write out its lyrics in full.”
The compilation is anything but a souvenir of the seventies. This should come as no surprise since the band’s explosive live performances put the fear of god into the listening public. Whiplash from the impact of the first chord is just one of the complaints guitarist Sam Dodson recalls when he leafs through his overflowing scrapbook of reviews, press releases and flyers.
The Transmitters spent the late seventies and entire eighties reducing audiences to meltdown, performing as headline act, or supporting bands such as The Police, The Fall, Scritti Politti, The Human League, Alternative TV and The Slits. In the words of Paul Morley of the NME, following a gig at the Greenwich Theatre
“The Transmitters are the cheekiest group I’ve seen since the Mekons, the wackiest group I’ve seen since Public Image (and almost as sinister). They were, of course, great.”
I FEAR NO ONE by THE TRANSMITTERS will be released on March 5th and will be available from Elsewhen / Voiceprint
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