Personnel: Charles Bullen (guitar, bouzouki, melodica, clarinet, keyboards, percussion); Julius Cornelius Samuel (keyboards, drums, percussion).
Audio Remasterer: No Sleep Nigel.
Liner Note Author: Daniel O'Sullivan.
Recording information: Cold Storage, Acre Lane.
Editor: Tony Cousins.
Photographer: Vaughan Fleming.
For a Reason is the sole recording by Lifetones, an early-'80s London-based project consisting of This Heat co-founder Charles Bullen and reggae musician Julius Cornelius Samuel (also known as Dub Judah). Bullen started the duo after the 1982 breakup of his former band, and while that group reacted to London's dark political and social climate with challenging, abrasive music, Lifetones were much more positive and optimistic. The few people who heard the record at the time wrote it off as a run-of-the-mill reggae album, but it's actually a musical melting pot of cultural influences, reflecting the diversity of the city with enthusiasm. Sure, it's hard to deny the Jamaican influence in terms of some of the rhythms, particularly on "For a Reason" (which happens to quote Bob Marley's credo "Love the life you live, live the life you love"), but the clarinet-heavy "Travelling" contains traces of European folk melodies and hypnotic African drumming, among other influences. As with This Heat, Lifetones used the recording studio as a musical instrument in the same fashion as their Krautrock and dub forebears, particularly on the busy instrumental "Decide" and the jumpy, melodica-laced "Distance No Object." Even as the lyrics look toward the future and celebrate life, there's still a bit of a tense, nervous undercurrent to the album, as if it wasn't really possible to just sit back and blissfully ignore everything that was happening. Despite a few dark clouds in the sky, For a Reason still revels in the bright sunshine, and it remains a unique, thrilling album. ~ Paul Simpson