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Drop Out (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

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An autumnal treasure, East Village’s Drop Out has spent the past thirty years finding new ears to bewitch and new hearts to melt. The only album from this British four-piece, recorded and released in the early nineties, it’s long been considered one of the hidden jewels of its time, and is talked of with hushed reverence by people who know. Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne once called it “an elegy for a particular brand of eighties guitar music, sweet minor chords and Dylanesque lyrics”, which captures what makes it so special; in summarising its era, though, it also effortlessly transcends it.

Like all great guitar gangs, East Village fell together as a four-piece; having relocated from High Wycombe to London in mid ‘80s, brothers Martin and Paul Kelly on bass and guitar, set on forming a group together, were joined by John Wood (guitar) and Spencer Smith (drums). Wood and the Kellys shared writing and vocal duties; it was an ideal combination, and one of the many charms of East Village is their various song writing voices, a tip of the hat, seemingly, to the 60s folk-rock groups who influenced them.

When it came time to record Drop Out, East Village found a supporter in Bob Stanley, who bankrolled the album sessions until Barrett re-signed the band to his new imprint Heavenly Recordings in 1990. The album that took shape is dusky, heartfelt, lamplit, full of chiming minor chords, close harmonies, rattling organs, all buoyed by a rhythm section that moves as one, steady and elegant. There’s melancholy here, certainly, on songs like ‘What Kind Of Friend Is This’, but also pleasure and freedom, on ‘When I Wake Tomorrow’ and ‘Silver Train’. The group were obsessed with Dylan’s Eat The Document at the time, and the album’s rich with references to the film; Drop Out’s character is also somehow close to the thin wild mercury sound of Blonde On Blonde, and the lambent light of the Byrds’ Notorious Byrd Brothers.

It's an album that’s slowly accrued its own legend. From its stunning cover art, photographed by Juergen Teller originally for a Katherine Hammett campaign, to the ten perfectly formed songs within, Drop Out’s significance in the scheme of things is such that, a decade ago, it was given a rare 10/10 rating in Uncut magazine, who called the album “the lost classic of its era”. Drop Out comes round every decade or so, each edition introducing new fans to its understated beauty, and this latest reissue is its most elegant and deluxe yet.

The 30th anniversary edition of Drop Out lands in two formats: an LP with tip-on style jacket and four-page insert, designed to partner with the 2019 vinyl reissue of their singles and rarities compilation, Hot Rod Hotel; and a double CD, featuring an extra disc compiling the group’s early singles and alternative versions. This CD edition previously has only been available in Japan, though it now features a new, superior mix of their second single, ‘Back Between Places’. Both feature new, typically eloquent liner notes from writer Jon Savage.

Released: January 2024
Label: Heavenly



Side 1 Vinyl
01 Silver Train
02 Shipwrecked
03 Here It Comes
04 Freeze Out
05 Circles

Side 2 Vinyl
06 When I Wake Tomorrow
07 Way Back Home
08 What Kind of Friend Is This
09 Black Autumn
10 Everybody Knows

Tracklisting Bonus CD2 
01. Her Fathers Son
02. Precious Diamond Tears
03. Cubans In The Blue Fields
04. Strawberry Window
05. Break Your Neck
06. Kathleen
07. Back Between Places (duff version)
08. Meet The Wife
09. Vibrato
10. Here It Comes (original version)
11. Freeze Out (original version)
12. Violin
13. Barrel Dog
14. Go And See Him

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