Terminal Mind from Austin, Texas made very sharp, angular post-punk in an era when folks were still genuflecting over the Sex Pistols. That they managed to advance the form, in a sense, says a lot about their skill, even if they remain a bit unsung. Things should change now thanks to the upcoming reissue of the band's stuff from Sonic Surgery Records.
Recordings, out Friday, collects all of the band's stuff and the release serves as a crash-course into the work of this fine bunch of Texas punks. "I Want To Die Young" bristles and pops with the sort of energy one found in early Gang of Four recordings, while "Fear In The Future" is a bit more assuredly original, less jittery post-punk and more angular art-rock. Elsewhere, "Obsessed With Crime" owes a faint debt to early Talking Heads and Police records, while the catchy "Refugee" bounces like a darker version of the sort of thing XTC were doing early on. Terminal Mind produced original material at times, but their best stuff seems still of the era and comparable to what a few others were attempting back then. This is not to say that that band's songs were derivative but that the group never really got a chance to pursue their own vision the way other, longer-lasting acts did.
Both a fascinating picture of the scene in the era, and a collection of bright and sharp post-punk, Recordings should serve to force a reassessment of Terminal Mind. The band certainly deserves a lot more attention and there's a lot to love here for fans of the genre's pioneers, and anyone interested in the early days of post-punk and proto-hardcore in America.
Recordings by Terminal Mind is out on Friday via Sonic Surgery Records.
[Photo: Ken Hoge]