Song: Sweetheart Contract
Another post-punk act that cooked up some great songs. This is from the Manchester band’s third studio release, 1980’s The Correct Use of Soap. Ex Buzzcocks member Howard Devoto, Magaine’s frontman and lead vocalist, always struck me as the weak link in this lineup simply for his excessive sneering theatricality; the man just never sounded even remotely sincere (perhaps that was simply his schtick and I simply never got it). No matter - his delivery was always integral to the band’s vibe. In his own characteristically oblique way, Devoto romps over a tautly-woven, bouncy track. Best line of the song, offered up repeatedly: “I was dominant for hours.”
Yet what really clicked for me was the arrangements and fantastic chops of the lads arrayed behind Devoto. Barry Adamson’s lively bass sets the tone with its stupendous elasticity and energy; Dave Formula was one of the most innovative and melodious keyboard players of the era and guitarist John McGeoch along with drummer John Doyle filled out the roster - this disciplined backing quarter meshed tightly together to forge the band’s signature musical DNA.
Posted by Max MacDonald