“No-wave,” “cold-wave,” an perhaps even “hard-wave,” but definitely not new-wave, Washington D.C.’s Urban Verbs were either defiantly flipping the bird to the man (in this case, Warner Brothers records) or simply progressing on their own weird trajectory, on Early Damage, their second and final LP. It’s hard to believe that any major label would mint an album this artistically disaffected. So much in fact, that some of the eerier selections here would make Ian Curtis sound downright friendly by comparison.
Robert Goldstein’s chimey, clangy fret-work is actually more tuneful than Roddy Frantz’s vocals, which he opts to speak more than sing, so I suppose that’s not saying much. Early Damage is where doomy post-punk flirted with the burgeoning goth scene of the early 1980s. It must have been one hell of an album for the WB to market, and maybe that explains why this slab of licorice pizza assumedly sank without a trace upon it’s ’81 issue. It’s not a big favorite of mine, though it’s more tolerable than I let on. I saw it somehow necessary to archive this record, if only as a curiosity. As for their much user-friendly self-titled debut, it’s been reissued on cd and can be purchased here.
01. When the Dance Is Over
02. Jar My Blood
04. Early Damage
06. For Your Eyes Only
07. Business and the Rational Mind
08. In the Heat
09. Terminal Bar
10. Acceleration (alt version)
Update: Early Damage has been rereleased on CD. Get it from Amazon or iTunes.