artist: Social Climbers
title: Social Climbers
label: Hoboken Records
personnel: Jean Seton Shaw (bass, vocals), A. Leroy (farfisa organ, korg machine), Mark Bingham (guitar, vocals)
tracklisting: domestic, chicken 80, western world, chris & debbie, palm springs, that's why, ernie k, hello texas, taipei
Mark Bingham flirted with a number of projects prior to compiling the works of Social Climbers, including production work for MX-80 Sound and collaborations with New York's Glenn Branca. their only album was indeed a compilation of three excellent, but poorly pressed 7" flexis put out by the band.
armed with just a couple of guitars, a rhythm box and an organ, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this album may not offer anything special, or that Social Climbers would simply mirror the b-movie aspirations of their New York peers, Comateens (which they do here there, particularly on 'Western World'). however, Bingham & Co. conjure up a highly original mix of quietly neurotic post-punk restraint. both the organ and rhythm boxes are used highly effectively, thanks to subtle production trickery and clever programming, neatly offset by the geeky garageband vocals. tracks like 'Chicken 80', 'Chris & Debbie' and 'That's Why' are shining examples of the very best of post-punk DIY, thanks to both memorable tunes and a cool, if insular, atmosphere of moderate despair. as the album wanders comfortably over the stylistic map, each track in some way hits the spot, and most hit more than one.
every lo-fi collector should get to hear this. and what a tragedy that it was never followed up.
erik - http://www.cultwithnoname.com