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TOXIC REASONS- Kill by Remote Control LP (Sixth International Records, USA, 1984)

cover pix currently down I guess everybody is familar with TOXIC REASONS early work – for those of you who ain’t, go over to Something I learned today and check the band’s first 2 7″s, then go to Dressed for the H-Bomb for the third one, which was actually a euro tour promo thing.

Never would I compare “Independence” to “Kill by Remote Control”, in order to identify the “better” of them. This seems inappropriate when you contextualize albums of importance and when you’re trying to individualize them to able to understand them. These are two different albums, representing two different eras. They’re divided by the subculture’s climax and downfall; the freshness and undogmatic main forces had faded away, being slowly replaced by orthodox political ideas, while the naive formula of “revolution” had turned out to be a chimere. This you can hear on vinyl, actually, that sometimes functions like a magnifying glass that was being held on not only a certain region, but on a discourse (in the sense of M. Foucault): Whereas “Independence” was raw and an incredibly forceful piledriver, “Kill by Remote control” is much more an ambitioned release and although it talks more about “revolution” than “riot squads”, the subject has at the same time slipped away. Another main difference is the omnipresence of the nuclear war theme that had taken over large parts of the western society in the mid 80s. The constant gospel of how the leaders of the world would only wait until they could hit the buttons to destroy the world – it paralyzed and put the activists in a catatonic state and one of overwhelming paranoia. And it made them sing the nuclear blues.
I remember this very well and it might be that the fear of a climate change will become the same catalyst in the near future (pretty ironic turn, to use the metaphor of a catalyst here, huh). I can’t foresee the future (I’m professionally looking back in time), but it seems like the cold war, the arms race more than the fear of a nuclear war actually prevented a third world war. So here we have another ironic turn of history: “activists” don’t change the world, they only accompany change. This is how I look at music these days: It’s a mere soundtrack and it always was. The blues often is the gospel.

Yes, I miss the original singer’s gruff yet melodic voice on the 2nd LP, but a song like “Break the Bank” runs shivers down my spine, when I understand its narrative in a literal sense. And there so much great guitar work, not in wanking terms, on “Kill by Remote Control”!
I think, this LP has a “canadian sound”, kinda D.O.A.-ish but not that cockrocky and it has even am equivalent: SUBHUMANS’ “No Wishes, no Prayers” LP (SST Records, 1983). Both records seem to breathe the same air. Both are exceptional albums – yet they both remain not re-released so far, as much as I know (except for a well done german counterfeit of the Subhumans LP). But would the kids of today really appreciate these lps? I doubt it.

Depticted is, by the way, the first and original press of the LP, which is scarcer. It doesn’t have the extra tunes from the reissue on Alternative Tentacles (tracks from the third 7″).

Stuck in a Rut.mp3
Juniors Friends.mp3
No Pity.mp3
Limited Nuclear War.mp3
Looking at the World.mp3
Break the Bank.mp3