Our re-embracing of the more commercial end of British experimental indie rock c.199x (Lush, Ride, Slowdive) offers an opportunity to acknowledge some of the fertile fields that kept the weekly music press engaged at the time, if the wider public less so. The likes of Pram or Bark Psychosis rarely slip into polite conversation these days, and while Disco Inferno were never household names either, their experiments with the guitar, bass, drums set up planted seeds for those wanting to extend beyond typical indie rock modes.
Their 1991 debut – Open Doors, Closed Windows, here in its repackaged guise of In Debt that includes EP tracks – was a percussive, atmospheric effort that left Ian Crause’s vocals indistinct, and concentrated more on mood than message. They often picked from the same arsenal as many of their contemporaries – restless, circular bass lines; guitars swathed in reverb and delay; drones and washes of sound – but the end result was more familiar, with comparisons to Joy Division or Durutti Column not uncommon. ‘Interference’ could be The Cure, while the knowingly-titled ‘Formula’ extended the template beyond the five minute mark, allowing Rob Whattley to do his best Stephen Morris impersonation on drums, a rhythmic element that predicts the post-punk bands of the early 21st century.
Frustated by the lack of commercial succes, and inspired by emerging sample-based acts, Crause re-booted Disco Inferno to embrace the opportunities offered by new technology. Success never came, and despite positive critical notice for 1994’s D.I. Go Pop album especially, they were destined to remain cult interest, hence this worthwhile re-issue.