Diagram Brothers

  • Diagram Brothers
  • Some Marvels of Modern Science (UK New Hormones) 1981 
  • Discordo 45 EP (UK New Hormones) 1982 

Something like XTC (but lacking their musical smarts or stellar wit), the Diagram Brothers — of the Manchester art-noise family encircling the Buzzcocks’ New Hormones label — play dissonant weirdness with lyrics about current events. Song titles pretty much say it all: “Isn’t It Interesting How Neutron Bombs Work,” “I’m a Policeman,” “I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today by Being a Right Git.” While the poorly produced music only hints at talent hidden behind the quartet’s anti-music self-indulgence, it’s actually the four-sheet insert, containing detailed fold-cut-paste directions for assembly into a portfolio about the record, that evinces real cleverness.

The 10-inch EP adds four more episodes of whimsical wordplay (“I would like to make/A special toast/To my new toaster”) and more appealing instrumental oddity (do I hear a tuba?) to the Diagram Brothers’ legend.

[Ira Robbins]