Bands such as Officer! are why the label “art rock” exists. Mick Hobbs, and his humble troupe, wisp through the grimy air and smog with music that sounds like the phase of death. “Life At The Water’s Edge” is what Pink Floyd might’ve produced had their production conditions not been ideal and if there was a slight pick-up in their step; since there is a rather clear genre difference, let’s call Officer! a cousin a few times removed. The bass line, the somber keyboard spiraling in to an abyss of despair, the beyond despondent lyrics (Mick Hobbs talks about being raped and gagged) – you get it. Maybe. Perhaps I’m an idiot. I honestly can’t understand everything Hobbs sings, but luckily the 7″ comes with a lyric sheet. “Dogface,” where Anna Piva takes over vocal duties, actually outdoes the A-side on the bleak atmospherics. This seem interesting to you? Check out previews to both songs below by clicking through the Buy Now link and see what you think of it. Cheers!
This new 7inch represents the first outing on vinyl for one of the most idiosyncratic and affecting songs in the OFFICER! catalogue: "Life At The Water's Edge".
In fact, we'd go far as to call this piece of ambiguous, ecstatic, anguished art-rock one of the finest songs of its era, or of any era for that matter.
Previously only available on the 1983 cassette release "8 New Songs By Mick Hobbs", and backed here by the gloriously surreal "Dogface", "Life At The Water's Edge" was captured on 8-track at Cold Storage in Brixton, with Hobbs on vocals and bass, accompanied by Rick Wilson (drums), Terri Robson (violin), Anna Piva (vocals), Richard Wolfson (keyboards) and Family Fodder's Alig (guitar).
Lyrically, it has the whiff of a blackly comic fairytale, but at bottom appears to be a brutally frank account of childhood hardship and suffering.
Hobbs' vocal delivery is rueful, with flashes of barely contained rage, but the music ultimately suggests healing and rebirth, Robsons's strings in particular offering an escape into the pastoral sublime.
One thing is for sure: once heard, this startlingly vivid, intricately patterned pop song can not be forgotten.
Both tracks were remastered and cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy in January '14. The 7" comes housed in picture sleeve with printed lyric sheet insert.
- Maybe Buy
- Not My Style
- Too Expensive