Formed in London by a pair of Canadians, Mark Bandola (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Rob Vandeven (vocals, bass), the Lucy Show played rich, mellifluous songs which owed more than a little to the Comsat Angels and early Cure. On …Undone, a fine debut, the quartet weaves nice webs of layered guitar, subtly accentuated with piano and occasional synth, but the dynamics and textures range from A to B. Despite several memorable songs, especially the opening “Ephemeral (This Is No Heaven),” the Lucy Show don’t give the impression their hearts are in it.
Some of them definitely didn’t have their hearts in it. Mania finds the group reduced to the core duo with sidemen but none the worse for wear. The band’s sonic palette is nicely augmented and the tempos varied with effective results; producer John Leckie (XTC, Bill Nelson, Simple Minds, the Fall) strengthens the chiming guitars and brings the drums up in the mix to add more punch to the atmospherics; songs don’t meander around the way they tend to on the previous LP. The benefit of two strong writers with individual styles is obvious, providing diversity throughout the disc; a tendency toward understatement adds to the songs’ impact. With liner notes by Jack Rabid, the belated 2005 CD issue adds seven bonus tracks (including leftovers, live takes on “Sun and Moon” and “View From the Outside,” a demo featuring and an alternate mix of “A Million Things”) and underscores what a fine band the Lucy Show was, a surprisingly fresh-sounding relic of the post-punk pop era.
The Bandola release is a four-song EP salvaged from an unreleased album produced by Mitch Easter. Ausgang was an instrumental group that contained Bandola, Rob Lord of the Primitives, Karl Shale of Colourfield and the Candyskins, and Martyn Barker of Shriekback. Bandola then adopted the name Typewriter for his work. The Zero Zero disc is more or less a Vandeven solo album.