Record Review: Social Climbers

Social Climbers
Bloomington, IN

“’80s post-punk shot into new millennium

Hailing from New York via Indiana are the post-punk wonders, Social Climbers. Their self-titled album, an artifact from the early ’80s, is being reissued and it packs quite the wallop. The record is nearly three decades old but is complete with synthesized organ notes and searing vocals; creating an atmosphere of anxiety and excitement that perfectly captures life in 1981 and is still shockingly enjoyable in 2011.

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Social Climbers – “Chicken 80” by performermag

Mark Bingham’s voice is an at times grating but elegant companion to the proverbial sprawling landscape of sound. Comprised of techno, reggae, bubblegum pop, funk and more, they made a point of infusing their compositions with as many genres as possible.

“Domestic” exists with a solitary beat, grinding harmony and deep growling vocals. “Hello Texas” sounds like a mildly sadistic carnival while “Chicken 80” is a funky tune channeling the disco era, complete with a gospel-esque choir. The album concludes its journey with the menacing techno anthem, “The Day The Earth Stood Still.”

Social Climbers had a dark hard edge, one they made soft with their quirky humor. Their oddball style is fueled by the desire for the exploration of new musical frontiers. The album received little coverage when it was initially released, but with a great reissue hitting record stores, it is sure to finally receive some much-deserved attention. (Drag City)

Produced by Mark Hood

Recorded at Celebration Recording, NYC in 1981

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