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Crispy Ambulance \ Fin + Frozen Blood [FBN 18 CD]

Factory Benelux presents a double disc anthology of singles, radio sessions and live tracks by cult Manchester group Crispy Ambulance, all recorded between 1980 and 1982.

Disc 1 is forceful live album Fin, comprising live performances mix-desk recorded around Europe and the UK during the winter of 1981-1982. Most of this material was never recorded in the studio and captures the band at their most powerful and hypnotic. The album closes with three bonus studio tracks, including both sides of the rare debut single on Aural Assault from 1980 (AAR 01), as well as Black Death, the b-side of 1982 single Sexus on Factory Benelux (FBN 18). 70 minutes of music.

Disc 2 is archive collection Frozen Blood, which includes both sides of the 10" single released on Factory Records (Fac 32) in 1980, all eight tracks from radio sessions for Piccadilly Radio (July 1980) and John Peel (January 1981), plus seven late-period live songs taped in 1982 but never studio recorded. 72 minutes of music, all transferred from the original master tapes.

FBN 18 CD features new artwork and an updated band biography (2023) by James Nice. 32 tracks, 142 minutes of music in total.


CD disc 1

1. Rainforest Ritual
2. United
3. Choral
4. Green Shirt/White Shirt (aka Deaf)
5. Brutal
6. The Plateau Phase
7. Nightfall Ends the Ceasefire
8. Bardo Plane
9. At the Sounding of the Klaxon
10. Chill
11. I Talking/You Talking Pts. 1 + 2
12. Lucifer Rising
13. Black Death (Life Is Knife) (12")
14. From the Cradle to the Grave (7")
15. Four Minutes From the Frontline (7")

CD disc 2

1. Not What I Expected (10")
2. Deaf (10")
3. Come On (Peel session)
4. Drug User/Drug Pusher (Peel session)
5. October 31st (Peel session)
6. Egypt (Peel session)
7. A Sense of Reason (Piccadilly session)
8. Eastern Bloc (Piccadilly session)
9. Concorde Square (Piccadilly session)
10. The Presence (Piccadilly session)
11. Headhunters (live)
12. Frozen Blood (live)
13. Turnbuckle (live)
14. The Gift of Danger (live)
15. Hollow Points (live)
16. The Grind (live)
17. Cult (rehearsal)

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Fin + Frozen Blood [FBN 18 CD]
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"Here was a band that had a vision all of its own without any help from the rest of the pack. Too bad this fine group ended up in the casualty ward" (NME, 09/1990)

"The instrumentals included here are some of the best jams this reviewer has ever heard, from a band retrospectively cordoned off into the English new wave scene" (Ear Magazine, 1990)

"Revealing a psychic bond with Mission of Burma, New Order and JG Ballard... a band that became really vital in many ways at their final hours" (The Blow Up, 02/2001)

"Powerful yet still mysterious in concert. The Plateau Phase is arguably the standout number, it's driving, rampaging post-punk power simply stunning" (All Music Guide)

"While various CD reissues had resurrected much of the Crispies' back catalog, there was still a variety of singles and random tracks kicking around by the time LTM embarked on a proper re-release program. As a result, the label topped everything off with Frozen Blood, meant to put the final seal on the group in the digital age. Starting with the long out-of-print second single Unsightly and Serene, the core of the release consists of two radio sessions, one for legendary UK DJ John Peel and another for Piccadilly Radio. Both are notable, as together they contain six songs never officially recorded or released elsewhere by the group. Hempsall's vocals on the Peel session cuts are a touch hoarser than usual - explained in the exhaustive liner notes as resulting from an unfortunate cold - but collectively the band is on fire, exuding energy and confidence. "Drug User-Drug Pusher" is the winner from the Peel cuts, a six-minute rip with a fantastic mid-song break and swirling lead melody from Davenport. Derbyshire and Madeley lay down an intricate rhythm line that stops and stutters even as it grooves, and there's the strong sense that a little more time spent on the song would have made a killer single. That sense is borne out by two of the Piccadilly session cuts, The Presence and Concorde Square, both sounding fine here but later turned into something epic on the Live on a Hot August Night release. The final seven songs are often intriguing outtakes from the various live tapes that would end up forming Open Gates of Fire and its CD cousin Fin, taken from a number of dates around Europe in 1982, plus one studio rehearsal, Cult. Three come from the band's last ever show, at which the band played wholly new material - a fine way to go down fighting (All Music Guide)

"Witness the driving Deaf or the improvised take on Grind, where trad-angst is eschewed for matters, dare I say, a little bit funky. The cauterising Gift of Danger meanwhile is as good an artefact of the band's experimental leanings as you'll find. A vibrant snapshot of Manchester's beating post-punk heart, this is stirring stuff" (City Life, 12/2000)