Exposé Online banner

Next Exit — One Way Ticket - 1981-82
(Light in the Attic , 1982/2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-09-20

One Way Ticket - 1981-82 Cover art

For some time now, I’ve been writing about the saga of Spokane’s Sweet Madness, a New Wave-ish art rock band active from 1979-81. Two compilations of their recordings have been released, and now One Way Ticket continues the story into its next phase. By 1981, the band had decided to ditch Spokane and head for Seattle, in the process modifying their sound by dropping keyboards and adding a new lead guitar player. The British ska band Madness was coming on the scene, so a name change was in order to keep people from thinking they were related. Thus was born Next Exit. They rearranged some of their existing tunes for the new lineup and started writing new tunes, and the demos they made in 1981-82 are collected here. Five of the songs would later end up on Next Exit’s album Metropolitan West; ten are new versions of songs previously released on the Sweet Madness collections; and four have not to date appeared anywhere else. (Yes, there is some overlap in those categories, as there are only 16 tracks on this collection.) To get the first concern out of the way, while these are technically demos, the sound quality is excellent, a clear step up from what Sweet Madness managed, and could easily have worked on a public release at the time. Many of the basics are intact from the previous incarnation, with Jan Gregor’s vocals at the center and the energetic rhythm section of Mark Fenton (drums) and Don Lynd (bass) blasting through the arrangements. The new addition was guitarist Greg Morlan, who brings a flashier technique to the proceedings, even occasional hints of metal and surf rock as well as creative use of varying tones and effects. Morlan’s work in both backing and soloing roles is distinctive, giving the band a sound that doesn’t really resemble any other group of the time. The songs range from the warped rockabilly of “98 Decibel Man” to the New Wave of “I’m Not Vicious” to the moody pseudo-ballad “Concrete River.” Three live tracks are included, and while the recording quality is noticeably inferior, it’s still quite listenable, and the energy level of the band is amazing. Between Fenton’s insane drumming and Morlan’s variegated guitar, these guys must have been a real kick on stage. One Way Ticket is a fascinating chapter in a near-forgotten musical journey, and I can’t help thinking that barring geography and bad luck, this band could have earned notice on an international level.


Filed under: Archives, 2017 releases, 1982 recordings

Related artist(s): Sweet Madness / Next Exit

More info
http://nextexit.bandcamp.com/releases

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Hidria Spacefolk - Symbiosis – I’m not going to compare Hidria Spacefolk to Ozric Tentacles – I’d rather listen to Symbiosis again (well, so much for that plan). Anyway, I’m happy to report that Space Rock is alive and...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues