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Dream Sequences

When Penetration split up in 1979, singer Pauline Murray immediately went solo, taking bassist/boyfriend Robert Blamire with her and putting together a "dream team" backing group hard to beat. The Invisible Girls include the LP's legendary producer, Martin Hannett (who gives this 1980 LP his trademark Joy Division/first New Order LP sound), as well as Buzzcocks drummer extraordinaire John Maher and guest appearances from Durruti Column's Vini Reilly, the then unknown Wayne Hussey, and Bernard Sumner. With this kind of unbelievable talent as support, Murray flourishes. The second and final Penetration LP, Coming Up for Air, had already posited her as a post-punk star, mining ground similar to the later Skids, or a less primitive, more tuneful early Banshees. Here, with Hannett's far-away, odd sound leading the way, she makes a more subconscious, skilful pop album, full of dark touches, such as discordant piano, flanged basslines, Maher's insistent beat, and strange little background guitar parts. The material is all excellent, especially the knockout opener "Screaming in the Darkness" and the Magazine-like single "Mr. X." This was one of the most inspired and unique solo LPs the punk generation produced.

After knocking on the door of mainstream success with Penetration for one album at least - the band's energetic debut Moving Targets still very much a forward-thinking landmark of its time - Pauline Murray's charges called it a day after a troubled tour and poorly-received sophomore set Coming Up For Air in 1979.
Choosing to collaborate with a few Manchester musicians proved something of a stroke of genius - Murray made this superb self-titled debut with the aid of Martin Hannett, future partner Robert Blamire and Vini Reilly, PMATIG sounds enriched after all these years festering in a dark cupboard. Musically less raw than Penetration, songs like Dream Sequence, Shoot You Down and Thundertunes are cheery new wave pop gems that still sparkle thirty five years later, all given that slightly gritty sheen by Hannett. Murray's voice is by turns expressive, wide-eyed and unique (comparisons to Siouxsie are unfounded, frankly) and suit the musical uppers and downers presented here.
And there aren't many of the latter - Mr X, one of the band's obvious highlights and one of the greatest singles issued at the time, brims with haunting menace, Judgement Day recalls early Psychedelic Furs or The Cure's dimmer moments and Drummer Boy is a stark, spatial melodrama that actually sounds a little out of place amongst its heftier peers on here.
As for the uppers, surely one song that should have been a single and a subsequent hit is Time Slipping. A slower, swirling, almost funky, dark-wave pop song worth cherishing, it's a great conclusion to side one (speaking in vinyl terms here) and acts as something of a centrepiece midway through the running order. I bloody love it.
It's great to have this largely under-rated body of work back where it belongs - just like the imprint it originally appeared on, Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls has proved Illusive to track down for too long. Now it's time to discover one of Murray's, Hannett's and Blamire's most important artistic committals to UK post-punk. This is your countdown - your starter for ten.

Ripped from the 1993 reissue CD with bonus tracks to MP3 @ 320kbps

Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls; Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls

1.     Screaming In The Darkness
2.     Dream Sequence 1
3.     European Eyes
4.     Shoot You Down
5.     Sympathy
6.     Time Slipping
7.     Drummer Boy
8.     Thundertunes
9.     When Will We Learn
10. Mr. X
11. Judgement Day
12.The Visitor
13.Animal Crazy
14.Searching For Heaven

Also included is the Dream Sequence 7”

1.     Dream Sequence 1
2.     Dream Sequence 2



  1. What a great post. An album I didn't know existed, with a smart and useful write-up. That's why I keep coming back. Love your work.