(LP, Midnight Music, 1989; CD, 1990)

When applied to himself, David Lance Callahan's `Anti-Midas Touch' would become strangely prophetic. One of the few writer-performers who have become harder over the years, rather than succumb to a flabby, melodic middle age, success has continually failed to materialise for this Essex Man, and though he's moved on and on musically, he remains too ascerbic a creator to reach gold or even silver disc status.

Blown Away is his finest record, although the Wolfhounds' Pink label singles, their last LP, Attitude, and Moonshake's Eva Luna, are all popular classics in their own right. It was as though he'd become unhinged with frustration at not having yet got the Bizness on its knees begging for mercy, and for pure focussed venom, `Blown Away' (the song) was unbeatable. The band enter the eye of a musical thunderstorm, effortlessly resisting any Thor and Odin metal cliches, whilst Callahan fuels the fire with his usual `the personal is the political' lyrical barbs.

As a unit, the Wolfhounds come across like a Romford Wu-Tang Clan. On `Rite of Passage', which begins with a vox-popped dumb American tying his brain in knots, drummer Stebbing punches like a world heavyweight champion, inciting Callahan to skin his knuckles on the brick wall he sees before him. Also present on songs like `Dead Sea Burning' are the first signs of the Kraut-rock influence that would be given a full work-out in Callahan's Moonshake incarnation.

If you need another reason to track down a copy of Blown Away, it will look very well at the front of a pile of records - either way round. The front is a classic map of the Antarctic, whilst the back is a recasting of the famous safety poster by Eugenio Carmi.

© Daniel Williams, September 1996