In Defense of a Drug-Soaked Noisefest

Friday, the 14th of March, 2003 - 26 past 2am

Current Song ~ "Blindfolded Visionary" by All About Eve.

In the dim and distant past (i.e. a few years ago), I was idly looking through the library's music tapes, as I did frequently at the time in the hope of expanding my musical horizons.
The tape section had several disadvantages.

Firstly, it was very small, and arranged so that one person could render it totally inaccessable to all other library users, thus making prolonged searches unpopular with ones fellow browsers.

Secondly, putting things back in the right places is a foreign concept to a significant number of people 'round these parts, and putting things back at all seems to have proven impossible in the case of many a tape. So, the computer system may say that Eurythmics' Peace is on the shelf, but it's not necessarily in the "E" section, nor actually there at all.

Thirdly, after one has successfully located a cassette, quietly performed the Dance of Joy, wished that someone had thought not to stick library stickers all over the tracklisting, taken it home via the check out counter (unlike the scum that ran off with all the other items one was interested in), and inserted it into ones cassette deck, there is a very good chance that it'll turn out to have been wrecked by previous careless listeners. Then it will have to be returned without comment, for libraries are terribly inclined to believe damage is All Your Fault, and who the hell wants to risk fines just to get a naffed tape removed from circulation?
I mean really, if you're going to go for martyrdom, you may as well try for something a bit more impressive than that.

Anyhow, on this one occasion, I stumbled across a rather worn looking copy of an album named Ultraviolet by All About Eve.
Now, I had come across the name of the band many a time while mooching around at the Gothic end of the internet, but I had never actually heard them (this was before I started downloading mp3s). It seemed a good idea to borrow the tape and see if it would work (preferably without occasionally deciding to unravel into a tangled frustrating mess), and, if this was the case, whether it was any good.

I'm very glad I bothered to do so. While it's not the kind of thing I could listen to all the time (it's very muted, dreamy and psychedelic; that kind of style gets to me after a while, I prefer my music to be crisper and differ more from track to track), it was perfectly enjoyable, and I really, really liked Blindfolded Visionary.

Being one who likes to own good music, I attempted to find it online. I didn't think it'd be that hard, seeing as how All About Eve is quite a well-known band.
I was wrong.

None of the big music sites had it for sale, and the band discography I found didn't even list the album. It was as if I had found an album that never really existed, but perhaps had dreamt about finding and listening to and then upon waking become confused about what is real and what isn't.

Finally, I found mention of the album... and discovered that it was really quite controversial among All About Eve fans, due to being quite a departure from their early prancing-through-meadows-with-fairies type of material.
I'm a jaded cynic. I choose to believe that lack of meadow-prancing is a good quality in a rock album.
Unless it's the Mission doing it, for what is the Mish without its fairy rings and magic dust?
But I digress...

Ultraviolet is All About Eve in darkly surreal mode, far, far away from Touched by Jesus (and let's all breathe a sigh of relief about that):

The sacred and the scared align
and call on me to break the ballerina's spine.
My heart has fallen where he lands...

~ Infrared

Did you know that plastic men
use blood in their fountain pens...
tell you how they're on your team
and seem to mean it?
Please don't believe all you hear.

~ Dream Butcher

Cut my hair with a kitchen knife
he was a blindfolded visionary.
Everything and nothing was going on
in his precious head, overfed on
Chemicals and conversation
A speeding train without a station
Crashed at my event-horizon
Feeling for the switch to turn his eyes on.
And in the news, they have to say
he is a blinfolded visionary.
I scrape the clouds of rouge from his face
and he's white as noise...

~ Blindfolded Visionary

Comfort-listening, it isn't. It's not hard to see why lovers of All About Eve's earlier pretty optimism wouldn't necessarily take to it.
One review described Ultraviolet as "a drug-soaked noisefest". This struck me as a rather good description of the overall effect, and while it was presumably not meant to be flattering, well, who could fail to be intrigued by music described so?

I remain without my own copy of the album. It went out of print some time ago, and the CDs on the second hand market are out of my price range thanks to it now being something of a rarity.
Collectors never did have to like a rare item to want to own it.
But one day, I shall have more than just a solitary mp3 of Blindfolded Visionary. Oh yes, I shall.

And I live in hope that eventually, a wider audience will come to appreciate what I feel is All About Eve's finest moment.


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