Insinuations: Prompt Critical 7"

Insinuations: Prompt Critical 7"


Tags: · 70s · 77KBD · punk · recommended · reissues · sethspicks · virginia
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Formed in 1979, the Insinuations existed entirely on the fringes of the early Richmond punk scene. The band evolved out of a wild, politically-charged act, known as the I Remember Reality Revue - a two-man live performance that fringed between cabaret stage tradition and Fugs-esque satire. Following that, guitarist and vocalist W.R. Draper kept things moving, forming Insinuations with Linda Firmin, her partner Lynn Abbott on drums, and bassist Paul Lipscombe. The group did not last long, playing perhaps a dozen shows, and recording only two songs before disbanding. However, what the Insinuations left behind is quite unheralded and unique, even to this day. "Prompt Critical" - an arty, punkoid blast with lyrics inspired by the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor failure of 1979, hits hard - delivering with a loose, oddball amount of character...perhaps in some odd universe where Captain Beefheart and Pere Ubu coexist. Draper's deranged vocal delivery and wah-washed guitar lines are some of the era's best, standing tall amid a serious field of contending KBD/Bloodstains-comped hits. Originally pressed in a criminally obscure edition of 100 copies (!), this reissue has been sourced from one of only a handful of known surviving copies. Packaged in a printed dust sleeve that closely resembles the original, adding an insert with liner notes from W.R. Draper himself. Limited edition reissue of 400 copies, all on black vinyl and packaged exactly like the scarce original. FEEL IT 19.

Our take: Feel It Records reissues another piece of punk ephemera from Virginia; while most of their earlier reissues are from the hardcore era, this one goes back to 1979. The band released the original in an impossibly rare edition of 100 copies, so you might as well give up on ever acquiring one of those and grab this reissue if you’re interested. Musically, Insinuations are a bit of a head-scratcher. Not punk by any current usage of the term, Insinuations come off like a group of artists and intellectuals excited by the possibilities of punk but not interested in “being” punk or following the scene’s rules and conventions. They smash together a number of sounds on these two tracks… I hear the music hall sounds of Tom Waits’ early stuff, the deconstructed rock of Pere Ubu, the home-made rhythms of no wave groups like DNA and the Theoretical Girls, and the robotic funk of early Devo. I don't know if Insinuations listened to any of those things, but those sounds were being made around the same time and it’s clear that Insinuations were breathing the same air. If you’re looking for fast and dumb KBD punk a la Freestone you’re barking up the wrong tree, but if you like the artsier sounds of bands like Pere Ubu, x_x, American bands similar to the UKDIY scene, or if you're into the history of punk in the mid-Atlantic and Virginia you should check this out.