Amongst the many, many bands to emerge out of the post-punk scene, Shoes For Industry were one of the most unfortunate.
For some reason they just didn't make it.
And that's always been a mystery to me; as I feel they were one of the more creative and progressive bands around.
Perhaps it was something to do with the fact that they came from way out west in Bristol (a long while before Bristol would become a city of musical interest) rather than originating from the usual Southern or Northern cities.
Shoes For Industry recorded a single session for the John Peel Show several months before the release of this album on the back of their 45 release 'Falling in Love Again'; but once this album was cut they seemed to disappear completely.
Side One collates an eclectic mix of absurdist numbers ('War of the Potatoes', 'Depilation' and the truly bizarre 'Invasion of the French Boyfriends') blended with some real post-punk classics, such as the brilliantly provocative 'Fear of Wages', and the bombastic 'Shell Shock', equal to anything their slightly closer to London contemporaries, and slightly similar sounding XTC ever put out (a similar sound perhaps, but Shoes For Industry were always a lot darker, and the structure of the songs are more like Cardiacs' numbers).
The flip side begins with a curious gallows humour inspired tale of a knifing.
The dark, realist lyrics are juxtaposed with a jaunty, bouncy melody, taking the song into the realms of a surreal nightmarish vision.
A mini post-punk opera follows entitled 'The Changeling'. And the subject matter moves from nightmare to paranoid delusional trauma; as a concerned parent pleads with goblins not to change their beautiful and healthy 'crap happy nappy chappy' into an insulin dependent 'freak'.
'Devil Dogs' and 'Slave of love' also play a part in the lengthy piece; where the vocals reveal obsessional love, even allowing the object of desire to take another lover; and if she does: 'I'll be your bed'.
So not Tommy then.
Shoes For Industry - Talk Like a Whelk (1980)
War of the Potatoes
Fear of Wages
Invasion of the French Boyfriends
Violent Stabbing With a Knife
The Changeling: Devil Dogs & Slave of Love
Talk Like a Whelk
Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Wrap your ears round a whelk here