After a ten year pursuit, Efficient Space finally presents Late, Late Show, the last recordings of influential Sydney-via-Newcastle band pel mel. Taped in the mid-’80s, these charmingly unvarnished sessions pare the combo back to their core, producing blue-collar sophisti-pop to a danceable LinnDrum beat. From the funky disco-not-disco of ‘Mr President’ to the effortless pop perfection of ‘Fool’s House’, the six tracks reveal a creatively open and well-oiled pel mel before they inevitably disbanded.
Formed in early 1979 as a misfit sextet from steel and surf town Newcastle, pel mel were inspired by New York and UK’s post-punk imports. Cutting their teeth speeding through originals and Joy Division, Wire and The Buzzcocks covers every Friday night to a regular turnout of dole bludgers, students and the under-age, the band would also cross-pollinate with electronic-leaning support act The Limp. In 1980, they decamped to Sydney to join the city’s flourishing alternative music scene alongside the likes of Laughing Clowns, Tactics, The Reels, Wild West and the M Squared crew, making an indelible mark with two albums and several singles as the only domestic signee of Factory’s Australasian licensee GAP Records. Catchy and intelligently experimental without being noisy, their musicianship and enduring legacy continues to be lauded by peers.
Undoubtedly some of their strongest output, this previously unreleased demo suite documents pel mel free from the pressures of a commercial outcome, naturally elevating them to a class alongside Orange Juice, Antena and Young Marble Giants.