While Belgian post-punk act Isolation Ward never released an album as such, they had enough recordings to generate two posthumous tapes shortly after their 1983 breakup, Point de Depart and Point Final. Cherry picking from both as well as including both of their formally released singles, "Lamina Christus"/"Babes and Sucklings (A Lullaby)" and "Absent Heart"/"A Request," LTM's own 2009 compilation Point Final provided a typically comprehensive overview as per the label's numerous other collections of bands of the time and place. While plagued by a somewhat unstable lineup -- the group featured at least four separate lead singers -- and less a distinct voice than an accomplished one of the era, Isolation Ward's best efforts are smart examples of nervous, melancholic electronic
ock fusions. Plenty of comparison points can easily be drawn thanks to the keening vocals and bass/drum-heavy arrangements -- Wire just before their first breakup, 17 Seconds-era Cure, the earliest work of the Passions, Modern English and the Cocteau Twins and perhaps above all else Siouxsie and the Banshees, the most clear model -- but songs like the powerful "Lamina Christus" and the fragile, off-kilter pop of "Absent Heart" were understandable choices for formal release. Other selections such as "Hope and Despair" and "Once and For All" have equally strong qualities -- the latter's concluding synth parts adds a wonderful angry tinge -- while "Illusions," originally planned as a B-side for "Lamina Christus," is strong enough thanks to a bright chorus to have almost been its own single. The lengthy "Feeling the Pain," however, is a fairly formless jam, giving a sense to the tensions that eventually led to the group's collapse. The liner notes are up to LTM's usual exhaustive quality but with one exception -- for once, detailed information on what songs came from what releases aren't fully provided. A minor detail in the grand scheme of things, but a little surprising nonetheless.