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Originally released as a limited-edition live/Peel Session cassette by the band in the early '80s, The Unperverted Pantomime? had gained something close to mythical status among Killing Joke fiends by the time of its expansion and re-release on CD in 2003. For its digital incarnation, the live tracks -- taken from a 1980 U.K. tour appearance -- were trimmed back a bit ("Pssyche," "Turn to Red," and "Bodies" being the missing cuts), but the additional songs added in place of that and the 1982 Peel Session more than made up for it. No less that three of the band's absolute earliest cuts from their Malicious Damage days -- "Pssyche," "Nervous System," and "Wardance" -- officially surfaced on CD for the first time. "Nervous System" is okay enough, but the other two, which made the band's second single overall, are spectacular, "Pssyche" in particular delivering a crackerjack Geordie riff that anchors the blasting delivery. While murkier in sound than the later album version, "Wardance" benefits from a focused, obsessive performance. The radio session this time out is from Capital Radio 1980, including a rip on "Are You Receiving?" that's pure nervous tension and sudden release and an interesting take on "Change" which emphasizes the keyboard line much more than the studio version. Two early alternate and unreleased versions of Joke classics -- "The Wait" and "Follow the Leader," the latter with different lyrics from the final take -- fill out the remaining studio cuts. As for the live tracks, while the quality ultimately isn't of the clearest -- some keyboard parts are sensed more than heard -- the performance is strong stuff, as are some of Jaz Coleman's occasional comments (before "Nuclear Boy" -- "This is another disco one!"). Definitely and clearly an album for fanatics, but they'll love what's here.
|Label:||Killing Joke Records|