Pitchfork (Website) - "Her pop sense is sharp, her lyrics are witty, her voice a full soprano mixed high and clear. Among Resolutionary's fragmented soundscapes, Goldman sounds as though she's sung on a theater stage."
Recording information: 1979-1982.
Photographers: Kate Simon ; Rebecca Meek; Jean-Bernard Sohiez; Philippe Sohiez.
Resolutionary is a brief snapshot of the early musical career of Vivien Goldman, a music scene veteran who is just as dedicated to punk and new wave as she is to reggae and Afrobeat. Goldman may be best known as a writer, having penned books about Bob Marley and Kid Creole & the Coconuts in addition to writing for NME, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and numerous other publications. She's also an educator, lecturing and teaching courses about subjects including punk, reggae, and Fela Kuti. Her musical career has mostly been behind the scenes, singing backup for reggae records produced by Adrian Sherwood during the '70s and '80s, and writing songs for Massive Attack and Ryuichi Sakamoto in the '90s. She only released one record under her own name, a 1981 single called "Launderette," in which she spins a love story taking place in a laundromat. The song features a catchy bassline, pulsating drum machines, swirling violin (played by the Raincoats' Vicki Aspinall), and toy piano, and it was co-produced by Public Image Ltd.'s Keith Levene and John Lydon. The song is charming and funny without seeming like a novelty, and it's easy to see why it's become a post-punk cult classic. Its B-side, "Private Armies," produced by Sherwood, is politically charged and feminist, featuring the rallying cry "If you can't get a hard-on, get a gun!" It feels much more tense and brooding, and it features an extended dub coda, which is immediately reprised as "P.A. Dub." Besides this single, Goldman contributed two songs to the 1979 debut album by the Flying Lizards, and her songs are very different than the robotic oldies covers that the group were best known for. "The Window," in particular, is unexpectedly harrowing; a terrified Goldman fends off a man banging at her window to be let in, and she exclaims "sometimes you fight for the world, sometimes you fight for yourself." A bit lighter are Goldman's songs as part of Chantage, a short-lived Paris-based duo with vocalist Eve Blouin that explored African and Caribbean influences, incorporating steel pan drums and highlife guitars. "Same Thing Twice" is an easygoing love song originally written and performed by a young Bob Marley, while the Latin-flavored "It's Only Money" is perky yet socially conscious, lamenting "it's only money until you haven't any." It seems like Goldman only recorded songs occasionally as a hobby rather than pursuing music-making as a full-time career, but she seemed to have fun recording these songs, and Resolutionary is an enjoyable collection. ~ Paul Simpson