- When Amsterdam's Music From Memory announced it was reissuing four tracks from '80s group The System, my mind immediately leapt to "You're In My System" and Michael "Mic" Murphy and David Frank's electro-R&B group. It didn't seem obscure enough for the label, but even in conflating two bands called The System, it made a certain kind of sense, given the label's ability to find new angles and stranger things in that thoroughly picked over decade.
This particular The System is the work of Bob Lamb, a fringe figure in the Birmingham scene in the early '80s, whose lone album, Logic, was released in France and promptly disappeared. Revived 33 years on, it's a fitting bookend after Music From Memory's Dip In The Pool reissue from earlier this year. "Almost Grown" and "Find It In Your Eyes" are stunning examples of what a DJ friend once called "elegant '80s." Be it The Blue Nile, Spandau Ballet or David Sylvian, this kind of '80s music deployed synths, rubbery basslines, rock guitars and Linn drums to craft an immaculate pop sound, full of clean lines and forlorn longing.
The System's other two numbers make you wonder just what else might have come from Lamb had his vision been supported by the record-buying public. So abruptly different are the dreamy, serene sway of "Pendy! You're In Some Awful Danger" and the percolating timbales and crashing waves of "Vampirella" that you'll no doubt catch yourself wondering just what you're listening to. Each track has a new angle on which one this System could sound like.
A1 Almost Grown
A2 Pendy! You're In Some Awful Danger
B1 Find It In Your Eyes