Random Hold "Etceteraville"

by Gary Kahn,
City Magazine (Detroit), August 1980

Random Hold was formed in concept in early 1978 at which time the band's personnel included ex 801 guitarist/vocalist Simon Ainley along with Dave Rhodes and Dave Ferguson from the short lived experimental band Manscheinen. Since that time Random Hold has undergone various comings and goings (Ainley left '78, and drummer Peter Phipps from Gary Glitter's band was added). The present line-up includes founding members Rhodes and Ferguson, drummer Phipps and bassist Bill MacCormick who at age 28 has been a member of Quiet Sun, Matching Mole, Gong, This Heat and 801, and has also performed and/or composed on three Brian Eno albums as well as Phil Manzanera's Diamond Head, 801 Live and K-Scope, to name a few.

The band's eclectic sound reflects it's member's diverse musical backgrounds. The songs on 'Etceteraville' (what a great name) are at times peaceful and serene (as on 'Precarious Timbers') and at other times they are intensely urgent and forceful as on 'What Happened', 'Montgomery Clift' or 'Silver Spoons' where the music takes on an ominous bodeful aspect.

It's stirring mood music that has a way of putting the listener's head into some unusually interesting places. Random Hold traverses some truly exciting musical terrain here. 'Film Music' is one of the most moving cuts with it's shadowy surreal disposition and pensive lyrics:

"No future anymore,
He's working to forget,
She lives with someone else,
Unable to remember what they felt"

On songs like these an atmosphere of sullen resignation pervades and the effect is overpowering. Keyboard man David Ferguson obviously knows his craft well, and is quite adept at creating emotionally charged imagery through his masterful use of the synthesizer which almost seems calculated to induce altered mental states.

'Etceteraville' straddles the middle ground between pop and experimental music and balances Brian Ferry-like vocals and David Rhodes churning guitar against the ever present background of Ferguson's haunting synthesizer.

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