The earth is still beneath my feet, I start to sink to lose myself
Friends and lovers stand around unconcerned, their eyes in flames.
England’s ‘pleasant pastures green’ were rife with cross-pollination in the musical landscapes of the mid-1980s. Post-punk bands splintered, reformed and transcended, creating entirely new genres of expression. Among the casualties of the Great Divergence were Getting The Fear, formed by Southern Death Cult’s rhythm section (Barry Jepson, David “Buzz” Burrows, and Aki Haq Nawaz Qureshi), and voiced by Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth’s captivating and androgynous Paul “Bee”Hampshire (formerly of The Danse Society).
At long last, the brief-but-beloved Getting The Fear is releasing their collection LP, DEATH IS BIGGER: 1984-1985. Taken as a whole, the album showcases the increasingly forking paths facing UK post-punk in 1984. Getting The Fear’s music feels eclectic and unfettered in its flaming youth, following whim, lust, and impulse. The compilation’s 10 tracks are alternately brooding, spiky, and sneering, as the lyrics fixate on dreams, sex, and Charles Manson (the sleeve of Last Salute features a detail from Manson’s embroidered waistcoat, unbeknownst to label execs). Razor wire guitars slice through minimalist, melodic rhythms….occasionally flowering into psychedelic poetry, revealing Bee’s deep affinity with Psychic TV.
Galvanized by Margaret Thatcher’s “iron fist” austerity policies and the cultural liberation of punk, the group blazed to creative fruition, quickly landing a lucrative deal with RCA. Immediately after recording their 1984 debut single, Last Salute, a label shakeup left them stranded and unsupported. Rather than stall in music industry purgatory, Getting The Fear chose to dissolve in order to escape their restrictive contract, paring down to the pair Into a Circle.
Death Is Bigger: 1984-1985 rectifies history’s error, collecting the group’s entire vault of demos and unreleased songs, with copious liner notes and a photo gallery capturing Getting The Fear in all their libertine glory.
“If this must end let it pass me by / I’ll remain your friend, only flowers die.”
Watch Against The Wind here, a mighty assemblage constructed of rare live performance and stills compiled from their brief moment in the rising sun…