Model Citizens NYC 1978–1979 LP
First-time redux of the the MODEL CITIZENS’ one-off 1979 EP (originally released on John Cale’s Spy Records label), now fleshed out as a proper long-player with an additional eight live tracks recorded at the Hurrah and Max’s Kansas City in 1978/1979. The MODEL CITIZENS were part of the constellation of New York weirdos crafting dissonant, danceable, and gleefully asymmetrical sounds in the city’s late ’70s downtown squalor, approaching the music-making process as a conceptual extension of their artistic practices. The four studio cuts all wiggle around the sort of anxious, off-kilter rhythms favored by the best art-school-spawned American post-punk outfits of the era (DEVO, PINK SECTION, etc.)—the delirious, near-wordless shrieks and squeals from vocalists Eugenie Diserio and Gloria Richards that punctuate “Animal Instincts” make them sound like the big city evil twins of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of the B-52’S, backed by some perfectly trashy organ stabs that only reinforce that parallel, and the tightly-wound, violin and marimba-accented minimalist groove and neurotically yelped vocals from one of their male counterparts on “I Am Honest” bests early TALKING HEADS at their own schtick. Some of the unreleased live cuts are especially great (the Eugenie/Gloria new wave from hell call-and-response of “Do It Like It Matters,” or the serpentine, bass-led mutant funk groove of “Foreign Tongue”), foreshadowing what was to come from the projects that the MODEL CITIZENS ultimately splintered into at the end of their brief run (major label new wavers POLYROCK, downtown funk-punk combo the DANCE, the backing band for preteen post-punk queen CHANDRA). Yes art, let’s dance.