An interesting historical curio, this one. Home And Garden
was formed out of the ugly break-up of the legendary Pere Ubu
in 1982 by bassist Tony Maimone and drummer Scott Krause.
Teaming up with guitarist / keyboardist (and local Cleveland legend)
Jim Jones and singer (or, more accurately, reciter) Jeff
Morrison, they released some challenging music that references
Ubu but takes off on a tangent from there.
This CD re-release combines the original History and Geography
album with almost an album's worth of outtakes, plus a remastered
version of the subsequent How I Spent My Vacation EP. There
are lots of bleepy keyboards and odd time signatures, topped off with
the abstract poetry of Morrison - who, incidentally, sounds like a
dead ringer for David Byrne throughout. It's an intriguing
but frequently difficult listen - kinda what you'd expect once the
Ubu guys learned to play their instruments a bit better.
The multi-part Marco Polo suite is typical of the album; it's inventive
and atmospheric, especially "The City of Kin-Sai". "Big
Winter", "Bells of Ever and Never" are basically poems
recited over bubbling bass from Maimone and some quirky keys. "From
the Life of King John" picks the pace back up; it's much more
of a straight ahead rock song with some clanging electric guitar -
and my favourite piece here. Unfortunately, for every high point like
this, there are multiple lows such as "Para Uds", a somewhat
embarrassing attempt at Spanish with accompanying jungle noises, or
"Jazz". The latter is pretty much the jazz-hata's definition
of same - 4 people playing a different tune at the same time, and
The How I Spent My Vacation tunes continue the trajectory
set by History and Geography, but are ultimately a testament
to why the band didn't continue. The title track is a wordless tone
poem, while "Please Fix My Horn" benefits from a little
rhythm plus some wordless shouting, but is still ultimately a bit
tedious. "Where We Left Off" strikes a pleasing close; it's
a nice, floaty electric guitar piece, reminiscent of Durutti Column.
Possibly realizing what they had lost, Krause and Maimone went
back to the reformed Pere Ubu in 1988 together with Jones. This
CD suggests that they made the right decision, but is still an interesting
document for fans of Pere Ubu or the Cleveland art-rock scene in
1. Marco Polo: The Voyage
2. Marco Polo: The City of Kin-Sai
4. Monkey Town
5. Big Winter
6. King Penguin
7. Bells of Ever and Never
8. From the Life of King John
History and Geography Session Tracks:
10. Marco Polo: The Desert
12. Para Uds
13. Prairie Sailors
How I Spent My Vacation EP:
15. Does This Belong to You ?
16. How I Spent My Vacation
17. (please) Fix My Horn (my brakes don't work)
18. Where We Left Off
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