If, at any point in the last 30 years or so, you have listened to Jesus and Mary Chain, Soft Cell, Spacemen 3, Spiritualized and other exponents of minimal new-wave and synth-rock, chances are you've heard the band Suicide, or elements thereof. Formed during the early '70s, the mysterious duo of Alan Vega and Martin Rev created insistent motorik rhythms from the most basic of rhythm-machines, synths and barely audible vocals. The melodies were either as pretty as '60s beat-pop or as gnarled and aged like bitter '80s industrial rock. It is alleged that the band used the words 'punk' and 'music' together on a flyer - but that could be wishful conjecture by adoring journos.
The band's self-titled 1977 debut is generally regarded as a classic of its time, with the track 'Frankie Teardrop' earning a coveted mention in Nick Hornby's book, '31 Songs'. 'Ghost Rider' has been covered by REM, The Horrors, Soft Cell, Paul Haig and many others, while 'Rocket USA' has also appeared on similar artist's tracklists. After two more albums, 'Suicide 2' and 'Way of Life', the latter featuring the splendid Orbison-esque 'Surrender', Suicide dropped off the critical radar somewhat.
Which leads us onto Martin Rev's solo career. Taking the obvious Suicide blueprint, Rev stripped out the intensities of the pair's early works and opted for breezier pop such as 'Mari' (named after his late wife) and 'Baby O Baby' from his 1980 solo debut. Unmistakably Rev, of course, but perhaps a little more compromising. He's issued around a half-dozen albums thus far, including 2009's 'Stigmata', all of which is bound to feature during Martin Rev's short UK hop in May. With just three shows on the calendar, you'll want to get in quick for these shows.
First stop is Preston on 23rd May, followed by London's Purple Turtle on the 25th and then back up the motorway to Manchester on 26th May. Tickets are on sale for all three shows now and cost from a bargain £10 for the Preston show and £12.50 for the other two.