Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls

Decided to get to know Pauline Murray today, and rather than begin with her first band, Penetration, I decided to start with the debut solo album she recorded with Martin Hannett and the Invisible Girls in 1980. It's an animated bit of post-punk that's so obviously a Hannett production, but an oddly happy, exuberant, upbeat one. For sure, a lot of the positive attitude it conveys comes from Murray's spritely, staccato voice, but the instrumentals and the arrangements deserve much credit, too; this is synth-pop with its gaze focused on big-room dance floors and commercial radio. A little bit of Bauhaus sternness, a little bit of Rezillos camp, a little bit of X-Ray Spex acidity, a little bit of David Sylvian sophistication, a little bit of coiffed Yellow Magic Orchestra club pop. A deeply enjoyable, satisfying listen.

The Les Disques Du Crépuscule reissue from 2014 has a bunch of great bonus material.

I'd be remiss if I didn't share Penetration's hit, "Don't Dictate." Why isn't this band talked about all the time? As far as first-generation U.K. punk acts are concerned, they were far and away one of the greatest.