Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Penetration- Moving Targets (1978) MP3 & FLAC

"I looked into the hourglass and watched the grains of sand. I wandered through the latitudes and crossed the strangest lands."

The story of Penetration's brief rise to prominence in 1977 on the back of their brilliant first single and their precipitous fall from grace a year later is the kind of thing that could have only occurred in the context of the U.K. Punk scene of the late-seventies. Inspired by The Sex Pistols (at the time, lead singer Pauline Murray was a member of the "Durham Contingent" of their fan club) and having borrowed their name from a song by Iggy and The Stooges, Penetration embodied the D.I.Y. ethos of the original Punk movement by forming and then becoming a mainstay on the scene practically overnight (their second gig was opening for The Stranglers). In retrospect, their first single, "Don't Dictate," was a stunning achievement for such an inexperienced band, and while it is often considered one of the enduring gems of the original Punk movement, even at this early stage in their development, Penetration's taste for New York Art-Rock à la Patti Smith and their proclivity for displaying musical acuity on their recordings suggested that they might not be a comfortable fit for the slam-dancing crowd. However, it wasn't until the release of their debut album, Moving Targets in 1978 that Penetration began hearing murmurs that they weren't Punk enough. In actuality, the band's second single, "Firing Squad," which preceded the album, had clearly signaled that Penetration was quickly outgrowing the aesthetic austerity of their Punk origins. And while "Stone Heroes" comes closest to echoing the unadorned fury that made "Don't Dictate" a Punk anthem, overall, the album pays very little heed to Punk orthodoxy. For example, on "Vision," a moody, atmospheric number that eventually mutates into a glammed-up rocker, Penetration seem to explore a darker, almost Post-Punk sound before lapsing into conventional hard-rock histrionics. However, on "Silent Community," perhaps the highlight of the album, Murray & co. hit on an intriguing mix of Punk aggression and New Wave atmospherics, creating a sound that is reminiscent of Blondie's work of the same period but with more grit. All questions of musical style aside, what is undeniable about Penetration's debut album are the consistently brilliant vocal performances by Murray, who, though not as self-consciously arty or experimental as Siouxsie Sioux, possessed one of the great (and incredibly under-appreciated) voices of the Punk / Post-Punk era.
Moving Targets 
(EMI ~ 2002/1978 ~  Expanded Edition)

 1. Future Daze  (2:57)
 2. Life's a Gamble  (2:59)
 3. Lover of Outrage  (3:55)
 4. Vision  (3:25)
 5. Silent Community  (3:30)
 6. Stone Heroes  (3:14)
 7. Movement  (3:23)
 8. Too Many Friends  (3:13)
 9. Reunion  (4:01)
10. Nostalgia  (3:45)
11. Free Money  (4:48)
-Bonus Tracks-
12. Don't Dictate  (2:56)
13. Money Talks  (1:42)
14. Firing Squad  (3:03)
15. Never  (2:16)
16. V.I.P.  (2:38)


  1. I just can't go back! lol. 1978 was an exciting year and sad to say I missed this band. Oh well.

  2. scurfie, it's never too late ;)

  3. having the luxury of 20/20 hindsight, I know that this album is way better than I thought it was in late 78 (at the tender age of 14). Penetration had missed the boat in my opinion. In the context of the bands I was listening to/buying this wasn't The Ramones, The Jam, The Clash, Blondie, Stranglers, Buzzcocks, 999, Generation X, Skids, Stiff Little Fingers, Ruts, UK Subs and Magazine. Within the following 12 months I'd found CRASS, Dead
    Kennedys, The Dickies and Discharge. The music that Penetration were selling...well, to be fair, it wasn't selling. The Slits début Cut was about as far from the tree that I was gonna fall while still in High School. 1980 was the year I really opened my ears, but by then...Penetration were over and Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls were around...

    I must add that every club night I DJ'd I played Don't Dictate...and the floor would be packed!...sometimes things are meant to be :))

  4. AndieJames, it seems Murray's carrer was defined by somehow missing the boat/lack of timing. Such a great talent too. "Moving Targets" has aged rather well all things considered. Thanks for the great comment. More Pauline Murray is in the works :)

  5. Are they pinko commie rats like gang of four?

  6. Walking home from the Jolly Sailor in Whitburn at 11 0'clock at night. Me & my friend Steve noticed some activity at the Seaburn Hall. Wondered over. A band we'd never heard ofwas appearing...Penetration. We payed our 10 bob, more to get some late drinking in.

    Now me & Steve were yer actual architypical hippies.. the Dead, Airplane, Quicksilver were our bag.

    Penetration knocked us flat on our arses. They were bloody brilliant.


  7. Chris, thanks for the amazing story/comment. I bet Pauline Murray was a sight to see in those days.

  8. The Seaburn Hall Gig was, I believe, their first gig outside Ferryhill (their home village).

    Seaburn Hall was a small dance hall on the sea front in Sunderland.

    "Silent Community" was just astonishing.


  9. Chris, thanks again. I'm planning to post some more Pauline Murray later this week


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