6 June 2011

The Regents - See You Later

The Regents - See You Later

Label: Arista
Year of Release: 1980

You have to feel at least slightly sorry for the punk and new wave bands who only began to feel the benefits of major label aid towards the end of 1979.  Despite some presence in the charts from the best of punk's old guard at this point, breaking new acts with an abrasive, simplistic sound was a tricky task.  Most ramshackle acts managed one freak hit at best, and were then subject to the slow drip of diminishing returns.

The Regents were no exception to this rule.  Their debut single "7 Teen" fared well enough - and still crops up on budget label "Best of the Seventies" CDs to this day, usually programmed amongst some other punk/ new wave fare - but this, the follow up, is one of the genre's more ridiculously under-exposed releases despite actually sounding somewhat better then The Regents' actual proper hit.  "See You Later" managed to climb to number 44 in the charts, and would apparently have been granted a "Top of the Pops" slot if the BBC hadn't been on strike that week.  What would have happened to the track and the band's career thereafter under more favourable circumstances is something we can only guess at.

"See You Later" is stupendously dumb and silly, containing lyrics The Ramones would have considered too pre-school.  "She said 'I'll see you later'/ He said oh no no no no/ I don't want to be a waiter" snaps the lead singer Martin Sheller in no uncertain terms, while backing singer Bric Brak whoops in the background like an extra from a scene in "Grease".  It's daft enough to be likable and energetic enough to sweep you along, but it's perhaps not the kind of material to make you wonder hard about what might have been for the band.

Only the B-side really gives you pause for thought.  "Oh Terry!" appears to be a sinister and warped reinterpretation of the main side, consisting of echoing footsteps, growling vocals, electronic oscillations, and female voices that are either yelping in pleasure or fear.  It's a sick and dark piece of work which shows The Regents were perfectly capable of experimenting with ideas when they put their minds to it, and is something of an unexpected shock, akin to finding an ambient track on the flipside of a Rezillos single.  Still though, you strongly suspect that they had a giggle to themselves immediately after the red recording studio light flicked off.

(Both of these tracks are now commercially available on iTunes- go there to get your pleasure).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love This! Great find Sir!