Normil Hawaiians

What's Going On?
Normil Hawaiians
What's Going On?

UTR’s reissues of Return Of The Ranters and More Wealth Than Money were vital staging-posts on the way to the peak of Normil (sorry), but with What’s Going On? we have well and truly ARRIVED. There is no real name for what Normal Hawaiians were doing in the first half of the 1980s - “psychedelic post-punk” might give you the gist, but feels too prosaic…The obvious comparison for their Eno/kraut/narcotics-inspired assemblages of spiky lopsided pop songwriting, improvisation and unreality-or-nothing tape-collage is fellow Brixton-orbiters This Heat, but they feel like a different beast - more in thrall to pop, and, on this, their last and effectively lost (label Illuminated folded before it could be properly released) LP, more violently peculiar. UTR describe the content of WGO? as “experiments in British kosmische” - a judgement certainly true of the lovely ‘South Atlantic’ and ‘Going Down’, pastoral ambient aches that summon Harmonia, Deux Filles, Idea Fire Company. Even the initially more conventional-seeming songs that give the album its shape - ‘Martin’ and ‘The Big Lie’ - embrace void-chasing repetitions and teeter on the brink of total abstraction/dissolve. Elsewhere, it’s just berserk: opener ‘Quiet Village’ sets the tone, a kind of industrial folk brut that sounds like an  blind-drunk blacksmith jamming with Ghedalia Tzartes. Recorded a time of anxiety and encroaching malaise - Thatcherism was beginning to bite hard, and close friend and associate Martin Pawson killed himself in July ’83 - there was also some pressure to make a defining statement after 1982’s sprawling, piecemeal epic More Wealth Than Money. Safe to say they succeeded.. What's Going On? is NWW-list-grade sorcery and savagery. 

£14.99

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