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Guessing the Way V.2.0
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  • Liner Note Author: James Nice.
  • Recording information: Blackpool Scamps; Bristol Trinity Hall.
  • Editor: James Nice.
  • Tunnelvision has to rank as one of the most obscure bands ever on Factory -- only one single (and that remixed from a demo tape) and not even 20 shows played in total. For them to rank a comprehensive CD release, with more demos, rehearsals, and selections from live shows, along with an exhaustive band history, might seem a bit much from a distance. However, Guessing the Way shows that if not a deathless band, Tunnelvision was a precocious (the bandmembers were all late teenagers) and, in its own way, enthusiastic one. James Nice's biography mentions frequent Joy Division comparisons, as nearly every Factory band got at the time, an association likely compounded by some high-profile shows playing with New Order. When listening to the songs, however, the association is clearly too simplistic -- though the inspiration is clear, Tunnelvision had its own strange intensity, part psychedelic, part incipient gothic … la Siouxsie & the Banshees, as the evocative acoustic/electric blend "Whitened Sepulchre," with its haunting wind instrument part, readily shows. Vocalist Chris Anderton, if sounding similarly desperate, has a noticeably higher tone than Ian Curtis at many points (though certainly "Glenn Miller" shows a bit of worship on the verses). "Watching the Hydroplanes," which would be the later A-side after a Martin Hannett remix, sounds agreeably intense here in its original form, Tony Ashworth's drumming an intense slow lope, bassist Paul Swindles maybe hinting a bit at Peter Hook, Anderton and Andrew Leeming's guitars providing the deliberate counterpoint to the vocals. Arguably the best effort came a little later, though: "The Man Who Would Be King" may have more overt Joy Division worship but, crucially, sounds like something that the group could well have created itself, with the later demo having an even stronger rampage. ~ Ned Raggett
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