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It's Immaterial|Life's Hard And Then You Die

Life's Hard And Then You Die

It's Immaterial

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It's Immaterial has qualities that can't be discerned from one listen, at least on the band's debut LP, Life's Hard and Then You Die. Patience is really needed to let this record's oddball hooks kick in. The opening track, "Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune)," is its most accessible. "Driving Away From Home" is a moody travelogue wherein John Campbell's half-spoken, half-sung vocals and Jarvis Whitehead's locomotive beat capture both the weariness and sense of wonder of being on a long road trip. Musically, the LP is all over the place -- new wave, country, blues, folk, and synth pop. Somehow the smorgasbord of styles works, because the bandmembers aren't being eclectic just for the sake of it; they simply have a wide canvas, keeping the album fresh from beginning to end. When Campbell talks, it isn't because he can't sing; the man has a lovely voice, especially during the transcendent chorus of "Space." On "Better Idea" and "Hang on Sleepy Town," Campbell creates an air of sadness that is felt more deeply with each listen. It's Immaterial manages to stay focused, never allowing its genre-bending to veer out of control. "Sweet Life" takes a bite out of Echo & the Bunnymen's brittle, psychedelic riffs and provides a Spanish flavor. Like much of Life's Hard and Then You Die, it grows on the listener. When "Festival Time" erupts into total chaos -- pulsating keyboards, brazen horns, samples of horses, operatic voices -- it sounds like a mess at first, but repeated spins reveal how well crafted it is. The CD version of Life's Hard and Then You Die is the one to search for. The CD adds three bonus cuts -- the gripping "Washing the Air" (with ghostly singing from Campbell and reptilian guitars that recall James Bond's instrumental theme) and different versions of "Ed's Funky Diner" and "Driving Away From Home."
© Michael Sutton /TiVo

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Life's Hard And Then You Die

It's Immaterial

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1
Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune)
00:04:12

John Campbell, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - Jarvis Whitehead, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd.

2
Happy Talk
00:05:30

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

3
Rope
00:03:38

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

4
The Better Idea
00:05:41

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

5
Space
00:03:56

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

6
The Sweet Life
00:04:38

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

7
Festival Time
00:03:52

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

8
Ed's Funky Diner
00:03:09

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

9
Hang On Sleepy Town
00:04:20

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

10
Lullaby
00:06:24

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

11
Washing The Air
00:05:27

Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

12
Ed's Funky Diner (The Keinholz Caper)
00:05:52

John Whitehead, ComposerLyricist - Dave Bascombe, Producer - Felix Kendal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

13
Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune) (Remix)
00:06:29

John Whitehead, Composer - It's Immaterial, MainArtist - John James Campbell, Composer

(C) 1986 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1986 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1986 Virgin Records Ltd

Album Description

It's Immaterial has qualities that can't be discerned from one listen, at least on the band's debut LP, Life's Hard and Then You Die. Patience is really needed to let this record's oddball hooks kick in. The opening track, "Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune)," is its most accessible. "Driving Away From Home" is a moody travelogue wherein John Campbell's half-spoken, half-sung vocals and Jarvis Whitehead's locomotive beat capture both the weariness and sense of wonder of being on a long road trip. Musically, the LP is all over the place -- new wave, country, blues, folk, and synth pop. Somehow the smorgasbord of styles works, because the bandmembers aren't being eclectic just for the sake of it; they simply have a wide canvas, keeping the album fresh from beginning to end. When Campbell talks, it isn't because he can't sing; the man has a lovely voice, especially during the transcendent chorus of "Space." On "Better Idea" and "Hang on Sleepy Town," Campbell creates an air of sadness that is felt more deeply with each listen. It's Immaterial manages to stay focused, never allowing its genre-bending to veer out of control. "Sweet Life" takes a bite out of Echo & the Bunnymen's brittle, psychedelic riffs and provides a Spanish flavor. Like much of Life's Hard and Then You Die, it grows on the listener. When "Festival Time" erupts into total chaos -- pulsating keyboards, brazen horns, samples of horses, operatic voices -- it sounds like a mess at first, but repeated spins reveal how well crafted it is. The CD version of Life's Hard and Then You Die is the one to search for. The CD adds three bonus cuts -- the gripping "Washing the Air" (with ghostly singing from Campbell and reptilian guitars that recall James Bond's instrumental theme) and different versions of "Ed's Funky Diner" and "Driving Away From Home."
© Michael Sutton /TiVo

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