All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Section 25's debut LP isn't a patch on the finer moments of their more famous labelmates, but for those who thrill on some of post-punk's late-'70s/early-'80s trademarks, it should go down with great ease. Skeletal instrumentation is the rule: detached vocals, guitar used mainly as hollow accent, undead bass, and driving mid-tempo rhythms with loads of high-hat. Martin Hannett's production is fittingly heavy on the drums. Though the band was quickly accused of sounding much like the remainder of the Factory stable, their closest neighbor in sound was Public Image Limited, most notably their second album. Any comparisons to PIL were agreed with, but it was argued that some of these songs had been kicking around before PIL committed their material to tape. Truth be told, only "Be Brave" and "Dirty Disco" (not to be confused with PIL's "Death Disco") deeply resemble their brethren, with the latter sounding like a direct lift off Metal Box. (Also notable is that Larry Cassidy's bass isn't dubwise, unlike Jah Wobble's -- it's duller.) Some of Always Now is prone to lifeless meandering. On the likes of "C.P." and "Inside Out," the band appears to be on the verge of nodding off; "Melt Close" suffers from a little too much slacking, too. Played at 45 rpm, it would sound really great. Regardless of its flaws (they might not even seem like flaws to some), it's strong. As part of the Factory reissue campaign through Les Temps Modernes in the late '90s, Always Now received a nifty facelift, including the Ian Curtis-produced "Girls Don't Count" single, assorted compilation contributions, and thorough liner notes. ~ Andy Kellman