SACRED BONES & DAIS RECORDS TEAM UP TO RE-ISSUE PSYCHIC TV’S ALLEGORY AND SELF & PAGAN DAY ALBUMS
Sacred Bones and Dais Records have teamed up to finally bring proper vinyl re-issues of the legendary Psychic TV albums Pagan Day & Allegory and Self, newly remastered for the first time since their initial pressings in 1986 & 1988 respectively. These will be made available on CD & digital platforms as well.
Shortly before Christmas 1984, the core songwriters, Genesis P-Orridge and Alex Fergusson, of underground arts collective Psychic TV quietly released a limited edition record containing sketches and ideas for songs. Some songs would become later fully-realized arrangements, some abandoned and others were just covered in praise of their creator. The record, in recognition of its seasonal release, was simply titled “A Pagan Day” and would capture the intimate songwriting sessions that were prevalent during crucial time in the band’s career.
In classic Psychic TV fashion, rumors and myths surround the albums creation. Most have suggested that it was recorded in a single session over a cup of coffee on a lone 4-track cassette recorder above an old YMCA building in London, though later revealed that the recordings were from various sessions over the course of a couple years prior to the record’s release. After quickly pressing the songs to vinyl, the record was originally only available through Rough Trade for a few hours on December 23, 1984 and pressed on picture discs, which adorned a photo of P-Orridge’s first born, Caresse, in exactly 999 copies. The pressing sold out immediately that day which caused Temple Records, their “in-house label”, to later release a standard reissue version in 1986.
What makes the songs, or rather versions of songs, so unique is the primitive and fragile nature of the arrangements while the flimsy, immediate vocal delivery makes the album sit unknowingly between demo and fully realized album. “Baby’s Gone Away” and “New Sexuality” are just a couple examples of songs that fans of Psychic TV became intimately familiar with from live experiences but on “A Pagan Day”, they are released in their infantile stages with no full band, just Alex & Genesis finding their way through the songs with an acoustic guitar, drum machine and organ. “Cold Steel” shows a true peek behind the curtain, sung effortlessly by Fergusson and would then later become the classic standard “The Orchids”. Most notably is the band’s cover of Pearls Before Swine’s “Translucent Carriages” of which P-Orridge accords special praise to Tom Rapp, the song’s original author and icon to both P-Orridge and Fergusson.
Allegory & Self
Beginning in 1982, the conceptual audiovisual troupe labeled Psychic TV set out on a multimedia journey filled with subversion, liberation and rebellion. Materialized between Throbbing Gristle co-founder Genesis P-Orridge and Alternative TV songwriter Alex Fergusson, Psychic TV started pulling in familiar faces with the likes of Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, Paula P-Orridge, Jhonn Balance, David Tibet, John Gosling and countless others. While the members’ previous works took root in the counterculture zeitgeist of late ‘70s UK punk and conceptual art, it was no longer a question of how to rebel against authority, but rather how to carefully subvert it through collective infiltration. Parallel to Psychic TV, its members formed the anti-cult faction The Temple of Psychick Youth, further propagating the Psychic TV message and vision.
While the ensuing years saw Psychic TV’s major label infection and record breaking live album release binge, it wasn’t until 1988 that the band started to ready itself for a chart-friendly pop endeavor in the form of “Allegory & Self”. This would be the band’s most notable and successful endeavor but tragically, it would be the final songwriting collaboration between P-Orridge and Fergusson. “Allegory and Self” was a perfect storm of catchy pop melody along with subversive counter-culture reference and occult leanings, packaged in a perfect bundle of underground hits.
The record’s opening track “Godstar”, a song gushing obsessive praise upon the fallen Rolling Stone’s member Brian Jones, would give the album it’s most notable identity. Godstar’s melodic hooks and haunting, Phil Spector-era lyrical chant gives into to all the hallmarks of a chart-topping hit. “Just Like Arcadia” and “Being Lost” follows in similar footsteps, charging along with a somewhat whimsical Beach Boys-esque pop quality. The album also contained a sneak-peak into what direction Psychic TV was heading into going forward, apparent in the acid house number “She Was Surprised”. Tracks like “Starlit Mire” and “Thee Dweller” reflect more of what the Psychic TV live experience was akin to in the ’80s, aggressive and hypnotic. All together, “Allegory and Self” would stand alone as the band’s signature apex from the original ’80s line-up.