The Scenics - Punk Haiku 3: Face It Again
Generously covering a month stretch from August-September 1977, during which time they played their first three live gigs (which ended with them opening in Toronto for Talking Heads), "Punk Haiku 3: Face it Again" is another history lesson/lost classic from The Scenics. It also adds another layer to what is becoming a running memoir of the band from that period, a set of reminiscences in print and in sound that is already a priceless document of that one of kind era.
"Face It" features a dozen songs, nine of which are Scenics originals. The covers are mostly of songs by their touchstone, the Velvet Underground, though they do a decent take on Roxy Music's "Remake/Remodel." The songs are evenly split live takes (from the New Yorker and the Beverly Tavern) and basement recordings in the home of enigmatic fans/promoters "The Garys."
Their trance-like, post-rock touches are all over tracks like the almost abstract "I'm Sad" and "Gotta Come Back Here," though, perhaps in the spirit of late summer '77, there are faster, snottier punk tunes like the title track, "Wind Over The Ladder," and "Great Piles of Leaves." If you've been keeping up with the reissues over the past few years, renewed classic "Wild Trout" from the "Sunshine World" disc is powered up with a live version. The Velvets are represented by an aborted basement intro to "What Goes On," and a killer live version of the same track. The set ends with what the liner notes calls their "psychobilly" song. While "All Belts (And Shoelaces Taken)" is frantic and dementedly whimsical, it is also held down by the band's odd sense of art-rock groove, which makes the song, like most of their music, hypnotic and effortlessly majestic.
The Scenics are doing such a good job documenting their times and creative legacy that any attempt by outsiders seems redundant. "Punk Haiku 3: Face it Again" is merely the latest fascinating missive from a criminally ignored band that is trying to set the record straight.
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