Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This Kind of Punishment - The Sleepwalker (A Beard of Bees,1984)

A classic case of obscurity at the time but hosanna in the future, New Zealand's This Kind of Punishment started as an experiment by brothers Graeme and Peter Jefferies after their earlier group, Nocturnal Projections, fell apart. Their goal was to move away from the punk-ish, more straightforward sound from the early '80s into a self-consciously more experimental and artistic vein; at which they admirably succeeded over the course of three albums and one EP, each of which had a very structured and dark, if not downright dour, feel to them. The shades of bands like the Velvet Underground hung heavy over the group, not least because of the prominence of piano and violin in their songs as much as, if not more than, more-expected instruments such as guitar and drums. TKP's records were known for taking large amounts of time to assemble and the Jefferies' near-obsessive care for their sound: the second LP, A Beard of Bees, was recorded over 18 months, then released as a private pressing rather than through their label, Flying Nun, because the band preferred the vinyl releases from another record-making plant. Their albums generally confused or outright angered the Jefferies' fan base, but the records achieved a cult following over the years.

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