Between 1978 and 1983, The Lines released 5 singles, 1 EP and 2 LPs to mixed reviews and little sales. One reviewer at the time noted that “The stumbling block for instant accolades seems to be the puzzling paradox that these are lasting pieces of work which require several listens before they finally take root in your soul.” Sure enough, anybody who’s spent enough time with these records has developed a cult-like devotion to The Lines. Over the years, these few records have become rare and expensive collector’s items and have never been released on CD until now.Acute’s first Lines reissue “Memory Span” represents 5 years in the growth of one of the most interesting bands of the era. Their music evolved from skeletal and taut post-punk scorchers to atmospherically recorded dubbed out bliss. The singles possess an angular and melodic thoughtfulness and precision that bring to mind Wire, Joy Division, the Feelies or Mission of Burma. Included are the seminal cult-classic power-pop/punk first single, “White Night”, it’s more taut and post-punk follow-up, “On the Air” 7″, the Cool Snap! EP(a desert-island disc to Chuck Warner of Messthetics), the more atmospheric and new wave Nerve Pylon and Transit singles, the rare final 12″ House of Cracks/Old Town and 2 early unreleased tracks.
Although they played shows with bands like The Cure, Bauhaus, The Sound and Birthday Party, and featured members of prag Vec and Alternative TV, they were never part of any scene. They never toured and rarely spoke to the press. For 5 years they rehearsed, performed and recorded to little acclaim, leaving only 8 releases on vinyl. While unappreciated in their time, they perfectly encapsulate the best qualities of the era: angst-ridden angularity, danceable catchiness, sublime dub-influenced atmospherics, sonic experimentation and killer hooks, with an unrivalled consistency.
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