Lifetones – For A Reason
1983 solo outing from Charles Bullen, the former guitar player of the always-relevant experimental rock outfit This Heat on his own private Tone of Life imprint, of which this is the sole release.
Like other British post-punk contemporaries (Slits, Pop Group, et. all) Bullen immerses himself deep in zoned dub territory on much of this album. (Apparently the UK scene’s fascination with dub stems from a reggae DJ who was friends with many of the bands. A common post-gig after party would be a late night hash sessions fueled by his most out-there dub 45 sides.) At times it sounds like the more accessible points of This Heat’s masterwork “Deceit” remixed 80’s dubstyle ala Mad Professor, using the same unique vocal style of group harmonies (multitracked here) that layer from the melody down to create a brooding and chant-like effect, as well as their kraut-informed approach to rhythmic repetition. The results are nothing short of amazing, although the times when Bullen peaks out of the thick reggae haze with hypnotic and winding lock grooves are surely the albums finest moments (see “Good Side”).
All This Heat related projects seems be very aware of the otherworldly realms that can be constructed with sound and rhythm when you have a masterful command of studio techniques, and “For A Reason” is certainly no exception; the stereo field acts as a playground for Bullen’s signature percussive guitar strumming and keyboard work, evoking a dark beauty ever present in the work of Bullen and other This Heat members like Charles Hayward. A tough to catch album but well worth tracking down.