Subway Sect - Vic Godard 1978

Formed: London, England, UK


SUbway Sect 1977Led by Vic Godard, Subway Sect were at the forefront of the punk movement and debuted at the 100 Club Punk Festival, where they dressed in grey, perfected the art of looking bored and detached, and blared lashings of Velvet Underground-inspired guitar noise. Not for them the Stooge-y racket of The Damned or the rock n roll of The Vibrators, they excelled at sounding very English, marrying their surprisingly melodic and intelligent songs with monotonous dirge guitars. They were certainly one of the most interesting and exciting bands of the time, the only thing stopping their elevation to Joy Division status being the lack of material available. Personally, I would consider Godard's decision to quit music to become a postman because people in that job tended to be "all right" is, on its own, enough to secure immortality.

Following the punk festival appearance they found themselves a manager in the shape of Bernie Rhodes and supported The Clash on the White Riot tour in early 1977. Two era-defining singles followed in 1978, Nobody's Scared and Ambition. The latter was produced by The Clash's sound man Mickey Foote and featured ping-pong effects and a terrific keyboard sound. Rhodes however sped the song up at pressing stage. Both singles benefit from Godard's tremulous vocals and his thoughtful, impenetrable lyrics. An album was recorded in 1978, but was never finished and has apparently been lost forever. (In 2007 Godard and a completely new Subway Sect lineup recorded 1978 Now, intended to be be what that LP would have been like had it ever been released.)

Bauhaus / Subway Sect / Birthday Party Flyer 1981Both sides of both singles appeared on A Retrospective, along with four poppier cuts from a 1979 Peel session ('Double Negative', 'Stool Pigeon', 'Watching The Devil' and the Velvet Underground's 'Head Held High'), 'Chain Smoking' from the aborted LP and an A-Side from 1981, 'Stop That Girl,'. This LP was reissued by Overground as "We Oppose All Rock 'N' Roll" 1978-1980 with a bonus 3-song CD containing "lost album" tracks 'Exit No Return', 'Staying Out Of View' and 'Parallel Lines.'

Subway Sect 2007In 1980 Godard emerged with a new Sect, the band now comprising of another of Rhodes' acts, the Black Arabs. Although prone to bouts of cynicism - "All these wicked people/Who do they think they are?/They want the keys to the city/Watch 'em fumble for the keys to their cars" he sings on 'Double Negative' - on What's The Matter Boy? Godard comes across as a hopeless romantic on beautiful songs like 'Make Me Sad', which is highly suggestive of the Velvets circa 1969, while spikier numbers such as 'Stand Up' and 'Split Up The Money' look back to his punkier beginnings. A magnificent and intelligent scratchy pop album.

On subsequent releases Godard maneuvered the band even further away from punk with Songs For Sale going all the way back to the 40's for their inspiration.


Singles / Albums

Subway Sect - Npbody's Scared Ambition Subway Sect - Split Up The Money Vic Godard & The Subway Sect - What's The Matter Boy? Subway Sect - Stop That Girl
Nobody's Scared
(7", 1978)
Ambition (7", 1978) Split Up The Money (7", as Vic Godard & Subway Sect, 1980) What's The Matter Boy? (LP, as Vic Godard & The Subway Sect, 1981) Stop That Girl (7", as Vic Godard & The Subway Sect, 1981)
Stamp Of A Vamp Vic Godard & The Subway Sect - Hey Now (I'm In Love) Subway Sect - Songs For Sale Subway Sect - Sansend Subway Sect - Lazy So And So
Stamp Of A Vamp (7", as Vic Godard & The Subway Sect, 1981) Hey Now (I'm In Love) (7", as Vic Godard & The Subway Sect, 1981) Songs For Sale (LP, as Vic Godard & The Subway Sect, 1982) Sansend (CD, 2002) Lazy So And So
(CDS, 2003)
1978 Now Subway Sect - We Come As Aliens      
1978 Now (CD, 2007) We Come As Aliens (LP/CD, as Vic Godard & Subway Sect, 2010)      

Extraneous Releases

Subway Sect - A Retrospective (1977-81) Subway Sect - "We Oppose All Rock & Roll" 1976 - 1980 Twenty Odd Years - The Story Of Subway Sect - Singles Anthology Subway Sect - Live In Stereo
A Retrospective (1977-81) (LP, as Vic Godard & The Subway Sect, 1984) "We Oppose All Rock N Roll" 1978-1980 (2xCD, 1996) Twenty Odd Years - The Story Of... (2xCD, as Vic Godard & The Subway Sect, 1999) Singles Anthology (CD, as Vic Godard & Subway Sect, 2005) Live In Stereo (CDR, as Vic Godard & The Subway Sect, 2009)
Subway Sect - Peel Sessions Live And Rare Vol 1      
Peel Sessions (CD, 2011) Live And Rare Vol 1 (CD, 2011)      


Various Artists

NME / Rough Trade C81 UK Tape 1981 (New Musical Express): Parallel Lines

Pogo A Gogo! UK Tape 1986 (New Musical Express): Ambition

DIY: The Modern World - UK Punk II (1977-78) US CD 1993 (Rhino): Ambition

1-2-3-4 Punk & New Wave 1976-1979 UK 5xCD 1999 (Universal): Ambition

Bentboutique, Chasing The Chimera UK CD 2000 (Creeping Bent): She's My Best Friend

Punk. UK 2xCD 2001 (Columbia): Ambition

No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion US 4xCD 2003 (Rhino): Ambition

Sniffin' Glue: The Essential Punk Accessory UK CD 2003 (Castle): Nobody's Scared

Lounge Story 3 France CD 2005 (Le Maquis): Caribbean Blue / [untitled]



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