It can perhaps be argued that punk's "anything is possible"-attitude really didn't come to life 'til after punk was dead. Most punk bands were getting increasingly reactionary in terms of their music and image, not to speak of lyrics, as 1977 drew towards 1978. But soon a good few bands came through, inspired by the movement but eager to take things further. Granted, many of these bands started with the original punkers, but it wasn't just the music that was fast in '77. Movements happened fast too. Post-punk it is, then.
I'm not going to write yet another history of punk. During the past few years, Mojo, Uncut, and countless other, mostly British, publications have been churning out one punk special issue after another. Much of this has been made relevant due to the rise of several punk and post punk-inspired bands recently. This has also resulted in a host compilations of music from the post punk era, plus re-issues of more or less classic albums. For which I am glad, of course. Among other things, I was finally able to get Television's fabulous "Little Johnny Jewel" on CD. I also discovered Medium Medium, whose "Hungry So Angry" always makes me want to shake the booty. Then there's been Liquid Liquid, DNA, ESG, Delta 5... the list goes on.
Strangely, though, there has been no sign of any re-issues by the Au Pairs. That is until now. Castle Music has released Stepping Out Of Line: The Anthology which collects their two albums Playing with a Different Sex and Sense and Sensuality, plus plus. As the titles of the two albums suggest, one of their main topics was sex: the lure of it, the danger of it, the guilt, the pressure, how to live up to expectations, how to perform. Their two girls + two guys line-up meant that their topic could be presented from both of the sex' view, and indeed many of their songs are built around the interchanging vocals of Lesley Woods and Paul Foad performing the lyrics almost like a conversation. The staccato guitars signal the anxiety while Jane Munro's bass and Pete Hammond's drums pump out danceable rhythms that take the role of temptation. "Come Again" from Playing... is their shining moment, a view into a relationship strained by the expectations of sex.
Yes thank you, I got one
Yes it was nice, yes we should go to sleep now
Yes, yes it was fine
We must, we must do it again sometime
We must - yes, but I'm tired
Cum again, wot, I need to
shit, I forgot to put my cap in...
(Mp3 courtesy of Rockin Rina'sWomen of 1970's Punk ).