Red Krayola – Kangaroo? (1981, Rough Trade)

Posted in music by okkame on December 5, 2010


Coordinator [Production Co-ordinated By] – Geoff Travis
Engineer [Assistant Mix] – Tim Thompson (2)
Performer [Musicians] – Allen Ravenstine , Ben Annesley , Epic Soundtracks , Gina Birch , Lora Logic , Mayo Thompson
Producer – Adam Kidron , Epic Soundtracks , Lora Logic , Mayo Thompson
Written-By – Art & Language , Mayo Thompson




To my regret, somehow I missed out on this album. Regret is the present tense as always but in this instance, that really doesn’t direct toward the past, rather it’s the realization of the delightful present which could have come earlier, that is to say it is a reaction to the overwhelming pleasure of now, but it wouldn’t utterly vanish, as is the case with the self-imposed hipster guilt, which is never detrimental – just a vain measure of retrieving hipness. At least, there are lamer people who have yet to hear this album.

Red Krayola need no introduction. Nevertheless, I got something to say. Red Krayola are in the sway of Mayo Thompson’s whim. They are unpredictable but always make sense within the spectrum of Mayo Thompon’s wacky vision. The involvement of over hygienic chicago postrock fogeys, who remain the faithful henchmen, to do them justice, like-minded collaborators of Mr. Thompson, gentrified Red Krayola, however, usually there’re beneficial effects to come after gentrification – a few good songs. Red Krayola and Art & Language’s “Sighs Trapped By Liars” won my 10.0 in the year it was released. Musically, it’s afternoon brainy ladies’ tea talk in some tranquil yet exuberant suburb, somewhat reminiscent of The Hours. The ladies are super gorgeous and entrancingly sweet. I read that this album references Rabelais and displays very vulgar word play. But that’s just that.

Red Krayola are an intergal initiation for those who started to develop an interest in Avant-Garde music and want to approach it from the vantange point of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Indeed, Avant-Garde sounds smart and cool. Be Avant-Garde. By employing this pseudo-radicalizing tactic, you can distance yourself from the packs of Pitchfork fools, who call Animal Collective an Avant-rock band.

Red Krayola’s The Parable of Arable Land (1967) would change your way of seeing music drastically. Pitchfork gave it 9.3. It changed mine.

Kangaroo? is a post-punk all-star fair. It features members from Pere Ubu, The Swell Maps, The Raincoats, and Essential Logic. Lora Logic was in X-Ray Spex too. On top of it, Rough Trade head honcho Geoff Travis gave a helping hand to the album, hinting this might have been Rough Trade’s grand plan, despite its expected unpopularity. This is a cheeky burlesque performed by thinking punks. Folly Pop for progressive eccentrics with open genitalia. Sorta Mary Poppins meets Brecht meets cabaret disaster. Girlishness is its vital heart throbber. The girl warbles and wobbles joyously, turning every surroundings into her carefree playground. Thompson responses as familiar ready-witted Thompson. All existing political agendas are only to fuse into music by the album’s inexorable momentum. Fuck Lenin and Trotsky, who are youse? We Don’t need you.


Mayo Thompson is the Frank Sinatra of all orthodox hip music (listen to his gentle cabaret resonance) and also the impresario of the purebred hipsters. His own voluminous body of work aside, he produced the albums of many influential bands; “Primal Scream, The Fall, The Raincoats, The Shop Assistants (Aggi of The Pastels was in their original line-up), The Raincoats, Kleenex/Liliput ……”. I found out he also worked on a single of a legendary all-asian riot-girl trio, Emily’s Sassy Lime (this is a palindrome) that had Wendy Yao (She’s 10) now the owner of LA’s hipster art shop Ooga Booga as a backbone.  

Here‘s my old post about  BBC 4’s Do It Yourself: The Story of Rough Trade (2009) docu. You can download the stuff as well.


One Response

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  1. Richard said, on April 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks for the post. Just watched Born in Flames – great Red Krayola soundtrack. Cheers.

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