Look out wimps! The SLITS is gonna bite ya!
THE FACT that the Slits are female SHOULD be irrelevant but I can't help mentioning it. Women playing "rock" in general are so utterly pathetic that it's really inspiring when you see some of them acting like intelligent people instead of brainless nincompoops.
The Slits are unique. They shatter all their female contemporaries (and most of the men too) into tiny shreds because they are a group who understand how to rock properly!
Forget all you've read about them not being able to play, or that they're just a gimmick. The truth is, they scare hell out of most men, who get paranoid and try to put them down. Palmolive's one of the best drummers ever, she simply batters her poor drums to death, no messing about, and Tessa Pollitt, on the bass plays sturdy and hard, chewing mean and moodily on bits of gum she'll spit out into the audience. Viv Albertine is one of the most under-rated guitarists around, slashing out a howling spine-tingling noise like some scurvy pirate just escaped from captivity in her skull and crossbones T-shirt.
Ari-Up's really special, kind of like a female Rotten or something. She has 90 per cent of the dumbo audience gawking in amazement from the word Go; you can see them thinking "Gosh what a loony - eek, don't let it near me!"
The first time I saw the Slits I thought, unsurprisingly, that they were absolutely atrocious, but once they had phased the stiffs out of the line-up and got Viv in, all of a sudden they seemed to blossom. Now they are one of my very favourite groups. The Pistols and the Slits are the only groups in existence from whom I should welcome live triple albums. They could easily be marketed as " the repulsive female answer to the Sex Pistols". Can't you just see the outraged mother rushing to barricade innocent girlies and laddies indoors for the night when the foul strumpets have the brazen audacity to come play in THEIR town!
"These Slits misses are Hits with Us!" sez beaming executive.
God wot guff - it won't be like that! How about " Slits slay civilization single-handed"?
C1978- Molly Gilligan
One Day, All Girls Will Be Made This Way !
SOUNDS September 1, 1979
(Island ILPS 9573)*****
Slack Jaw, warm hearts: 'Cut' is astoundingly good.
I'm a sucker for integrity, whatever it means. I love to be proved wrong by someone like The Slits, Ari in particular. I'll eat my hat - why not?
Used to think The Slits were lazy - lethargic after the example of The Clash and The Pistols in the early stages. I wanted to like these people and I wasn't alone, so why weren't' they playing? Groups are for music; one gig and three weeks of zero gets you nowhere.
There's probably 199 reasons why The Slits have taken so long to get a record out, why they've been out so relatively rarely themselves; but they've made one of this year's great leaps and - time's tight but I think it'll beat my clock - probably one of the year's most enjoyable, adventurous and just plain good to be in the same room with records, so the last laugh is all theirs. I must confess I'm delighted.
What's the record like? It sounds like The Slits! It's restrained, tough, deliciously melodic in places (harmonies and other vocal surprises all over the place, regular mine-field of pleasures both subtle and brash), funny, intoxicating.
The playing, I wouldn't call it great because I'm not sure what that means any more; I'd say the playing was right though. So right so often, both in fancy and straightforward respects. I mean there's great moments form everyone on this record, not least producer Dennis Bovell - his sense of texture, the perspective balance that's such a key part of 'Cut's ' magic must, in part at least, have come from the desk and the mix.
What else you like to hear? Current favourites: 'Typical Girls" (great words, ditto tune; 'New Town' for lots of reasons, and particularly for its bastard English "footballino" and its rhyme-mate "televisino"; 'Shoplifting' for its primitive attack, "Do a runner" chorus (thanks Mosca) and, yes times ten, even the shrieky bits.
Like they say in the ads: 'Cut' will mark you for life a dazzling potage ) gruff American voice, viz 'Carlsberg' ads) that melds such disparate elements as The Magic Band, vintage Velvets, reggae from both rhythm and experimental extremes, medieval plain chant - into a cohesive, colourful, no-to-be-missed turntable treat.
Now sod off and listen to 'Cut'. I've been there long enough to give it a full recommendation.
C1979 - GIOVANNI DADOMO
"RETURN OF THE GIANT SLITS"
LONDON-WORLD-BEAT IS BORN, IN THE STREET !
NME Dec 20th 1980
"In 1977 The Slits were a noisy, thrashing pupa, slashing at complacent sitcom existences and establishing themselves as an anarchistic, table-turning force.
In 1981 The Slits have learned to play their instruments and make unique music. The stomping dinosaur day's caterpillar has burst open. In its place sits three calm explorers.
For proof check the new album, 'The Return of the Giant Slits'. Their first for CBS a move they made to get across to more people. If 'Cut', of three years ago, was the birth-pang howl at new territories, this is the mellow maturity of ideas they've always dreamed but not quite reached.
It effortlessly mixes funk, percussion-atmospherics, their singalong vocal interplay and the beloved reggae liquidised with purest sound and character, other rhythms. Very natural, anything-can happen and, if less hard-hitting and discordant, more long-lasting. Take tracks like the stepping groove of 'Walkabout', the silent movie stop-start drama of 'Face-place', or the haunting 'Life on Earth'. Longer-time readers will recall a severe Zigzag obsession with The Slits through '77--'78. Two special covers in past years, a massive faith.
Then a three-year communication lapse for some reason, though we still charted their moves. This is the first interview we've done and the first time I'd really spoken to them since the eve of 'Cut'. Yes, they've changed, but the conversation flowed in a much more assured way that the punky exchanges of yore.
Present are singer Ari) prone to freeform theorizing and heart-bursts on anything), Viv, reasoning and most articulate on the subject of music, and Tessa, more content to nod friendly agreement. They all like Abba!
ZZ: How did the new album develop?
VIV: We did it almost a track at a time, not in a big lump like 'Cut', so we could give each track its own attention. But it makes it seem like we've been doing it for years now. If you go in and do it in a month then it's over and done with.
ZZ: There's much more variety and general soaking up of styles on it.
VIV: We can probably do what we imagine more now
ARI: I just think we're different people now, because we're grown up.
ZZ: It's three years since we last did an interview.
ARI: I don't think three years is much. Even a hundred years isn't much, to change.
VIV: It doesn't feel like a long time. We don't feel like we've done that much in between.
ZZ: You did a spell with Rough Trade.
ARI: No with Rough Trade. That stuff was survival really. I never felt with Rough Trade, or for Rough Trade. It was the money.
VIV: It was the matter of handing over something just to get a bit of money back that day. We had nothing. Going on tour was just a way to get a bit of money. We've been touring abroad.
ZZ: Does the hardship affect the music?
ARI: It should never affect the music. It should make it better. Worry and struggle should make music better. The music doesn't seem to have any problems at all. It's everything else. Business is a screw in the head.