Big In Japan – Nothing Special, Cindy and the Barbi Dolls, // Suicide a Go Go, Taxi (Cage 001 ) 1978. This is one of those supergroups that you hear a lot about but don’t ever really hear. Or at least that used to be the case before the modern era of incestuous blogging. I know for instance that this was once on Brett’s Egg City precursor Post Punk Junk (RIP). Who knows? Maybe Big in Japan is actually big in Poughkeepsie or something these days. All I know is that for yours truly, this was one of those releases I always wanted to hear. I mean the pedigree is pretty insane. During the band’s brief existence members included Budgie (The Slits, Siouxsie & the Banshees), Ian Broudie (The Lightning Seeds, producer), Bill Drummond (Zoo Record label and The KLF), David Balfe (The Teardrop Explodes), Jayne Casey (Pink Military/Industry) and Holly Johnson later of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. But enough listing of credentials. Were they any good?
Although Big in Japan formed in 1977 they were, much like Wire, post-punk from the get-go. Broudie mentions that the band was much more into ideas than proficiency (as it should be) and there was indeed something bizarrely conceptual about Big in Japan. Beyond being conceptual, they were also pretty influential both on the nascent Liverpool scene and New Wave music in general. Upon hearing the EP which was recorded in 1978, I was disappointed. Maybe I expected too much? Then I stuck it on my iPod and over time this grew on me in a big way. Especially the track Suicide A Go-Go, which is just a classic art punk tune in the very best possible way.