- "In Tel Aviv, we think differently," Hadar Goldman (half of post-punk outfit Siam) told me earlier this year. "And we talk differently." He was discussing Tel Aviv in relation to its more conservative neighbours in Jerusalem and elsewhere. The city's underground scene in the '80s, he continued, was a melting pot of England's north-west, Berlin, New York and Austin, Texas. Alongside Jeff Shapiro on "Tel Aviv Downtown," Goldman's composite analogy was at least partially realised. A gymnastic funk that splits the difference between Konk and James Chance & The Contortions surfaces in the track's bassline; the puckish chorus and skinny guitar playing recalls a saltier take on Heaven 17.
Rubbed acoustic strings and low-voltage currents run through Red Axes' version of "Tel Aviv Downtown"—released on Garzen Records, their new wave-focused label—which turns Siam's original song into a frothless drum track. As a late-flowering post-punk band, Siam shared Red Axes' knack for expanding established ideas with panache, importing goth overtones ("Life Goes On") as easily as they handled danceable synth-pop from Sheffield and Manchester on other tracks. Tel Aviv Downtown's B-side is a remastered version of "In The Realm Of," an incense-scented stomp of glassy guitars and panoramic pedal distortion that—as with "Tel Aviv Downtown"—featured on Siam's only album, War And Peace And Inbetween. "In darkened nights / I called your name," begins Shapiro, who sounds dazzled by the inner world he describes. The signatures of several bands reveal themselves on "In The Realm Of," but they feel more like voices in a chorus that Goldman and Shapiro conducted in their own way.
A Tel Aviv Downtown (Red Axes Edit)
B In The Realm Of