Friday, September 30, 2011

Scars- Author! Author! (1981) / Adult/ery/Horrorshow Single (1979) MP3 & FLAC

"Leave me in the autumn when darkness comes too soon and snow is on the way, but you'll be far, so far away, I'll think of you every day."

While fellow-Edinburgh natives Josef K are usually the first band mentioned when it comes to discussing the Scottish Post-Punk scene of the late-seventies and early-eighties, an argument can be made that Scars' all-too-brief journey from the art-punk abrasiveness of their early singles to the more textured and melodic (though still spiky) brand of Post-Punk found on their debut and swan-song, Author! Author!, represents a legacy just as compelling if not more so than their more commonly name-dropped counterparts. In fact, Josef K. lead singer Paul Haig has admitted that TV Art, an early version of his band, "were inspired by Scars." From their inception, Scars' unique sound was in evidence. Equal parts Glam attitude, Punk aggression, danceable rhythm, and arty ambition, early songs such as "Horrorshow," while clearly indebted to the U.K. Punk scene of the late-seventies, seemed eager to explore a sound marrying a more moody, pop-art-informed intellectual approach to Punk's raw emotional power. During their first three years together, Scars spent most of their time touring relentlessly (their gritty live performances are now legendary) and issuing occasional singles, which caught the attention of John Peel, who invited the band to record two sessions (1980, 1981) for his BBC radio show. By 1981, when Scars finally got around to focusing more on recording, their sound had evolved significantly, and what they delivered on their lone LP, though generally little-known, easily stands with the best of the original Post-Punk movement.

Characterized by the expressively insular vocals of Rob King (which occasionally recall Ian McCulloch before he began to court the ghost of Jim Morrison), the razor's edge chime of guitarist Paul Research, and the propulsive rhythm section of John Mackie and Steve McLaughlin, Author! Author! epitomized, in the words of NME critic Paul Morley, "the post-punk new seriousness that ha[d] radically re-activated pop music, destroying the dichotomy between intelligence and emotion and confronting a whole range of different fears and desires. New pop that treats the transient thrill seriously." Poetic abstractions aside, Author! Author! consistently displays the traits that made the best post-punk bands such a stimulating antidote to the increasingly regimented and sectarian aspects of the Punk scene. Produced by Penetration's Robert Blamire and issued on Pre Records, a subsidiary of Charisma that was also the home of Delta 5, the album yielded one single, "All About You," which, due to its periodic inclusion on a few anthologies over the years, single-handedly kept Scars from falling entirely through the cracks of popular memory, and one listen leaves no doubt as to why.

Taking the abrasive guitar-based textures and moody lyrics that previously defined their sound and seamlessly transplanting them into a more straightforwardly pop context yields stunning results on this particular song, and leaves one wondering how Scars failed to achieve the kind of success a band such as Echo & The Bunnymen enjoyed. On the album's other standout track, "Leave Me in the Autumn," the atmosphere is much darker, and King's slightly frantic vocal performance beautifully conveys the sense of painful isolation that runs thematically through the song's lyrics. However, the star on this song is Mackie's bass-work, which initiates the proceedings and never lets up, effectively creating the palpable tension that gives the song its emotional power. Author! Author! represented a huge leap forward for the band sonically, but it also ushered in an image change, which ultimately may have helped do the band in. In a move that in hindsight seems inexplicable given the band's gritty Post-Punk reputation at the time, they decided to adopt a look reminiscent of Viviene Westwood's World's End pirate-inspired collection (a look made famous by Adam Ant), and in doing so, they unknowingly aligned themselves with the New Romantic movement, whose music bore little resemblance to the tense, jagged pop genius of a band such as Scars. Too pop for the punks and too genuinely arty for the Duran Duran crowd.

Author! Author! 
(PreVS ~ 2007/1981 ~ Remastered & Expanded Edition)

 1. Leave Me in the Autumn  (2:51)
 2. Fear of the Dark  (3:14)
 3. Aquarama  (4:54)
 4. David  (3:26)
 5. Obsessions  (4:57)
 6. Everywhere I Go  (3:42)
 7. The Lady in the Car with Glasses on and a Gun!  (3:38)
 8. Je T'aime C'est la Mort  (3:10)
 9. Your Attention Please  (3:44)
10. All About You  (5:16)
-Bonus Tracks-
11. Silver Dream Machine  (3:57)
12. She's Alive  (2:58)
13. All About You (Single Version)  (4:01)
14. Author! Author!  (2:53)
15. Love Song  (3:06)
16. Psychomodo  (3:01)
17. They Came and Took Her  (2:50)
18. Romance by Mail  (2:40)

Link Removed by Google Blogger

Link Removed by Google Blogger

Adult/ery / Horrorshow EP 
(Fast Product ~ 1979 ~ Vinyl Rip)

1. Adult/ery  (3:07)
2. Horrorshow  (3:00)

Link Removed by Google Blogger

Scars- "All About You" Video/Interview (1981)


  1. You still amaze me. Excellent review of an excellent band!

  2. thanks scurfie. This is such a great and ridiculously under-appreciated album. There's not even very much info available about these guys.

  3. Steve McLaughlin Drummer - SCARS

    and Stephen McLaughlin >

    one and the same ;-)

  4. AndieJames, he certainly landed on his feet after the dissolution of the band

  5. Hi voixautre, Michael here! How did I miss this band? Not quite the "Associates" but hey...
    I managed to find a 256K version of this, but hadn't got round to listening to it. Now you have supplied a 320, well... And it almost the complete discography (I think). Apart from this:
    Not sure if I should provide links but here goes! This is an mp3 @ 320 of the pretty rare flexi-disc featuring "Your Attention Please" recorded live. Hope that this is okay with you.


  6. Voix, I was going out with Steve's kid sister in 83 and she was extremely cool about her older brothers career...he still wasn't available to work with my band tho :(( Had to settle for some bloke called Bill Orbit in his wee basement studio in Edinburgh ;-))

    Michael!! Cool find fella!! gonna have some of that Flexi :)) I posted a link to all SCARS singles in the comments for the Video posted earlier... here it is again

  7. Michael, I'm considerring a megapost for The Associates, something like I did for Adam and the Ants last week. If I decide not to, I'll post the albums on PPP very soon

  8. Thank you, Voixautre, for the rare Scottish post-punk =) I love Josef K, so I really look forward to listening to this. Thank you, again =)


  9. I beg of you, please renew these links!

  10. Billy, if I repost these links, the blog will be pulled down. I received a warning letter about this post


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.