The Weekend La Varieté

The immediate aftermath of punk was a particular fertile era for British music. Believing that punk had exhausted rock of further possibilities, but had blown initiatives for independence and creativity wide open, a new generation of groups looked outside of rock's narrow parameters for fresh inspiration, producing an unprecedented climate of diversity and experimentation. At the opposite end of the spectrum to the likes of PiL's nightmare dub and Throbbing Gristle's electro-shock treatments was Weekend. Formed by ex-Young Marble Giants singer Alison Statton and guitarists Spike and Simon Booth, Weekend drew from bossa nova and the light, jazz-tinged pop that had always subsisted on the European continent, autonomous of the rock world. La Varieté is itself, says the sleeve notes, "the French term for popular radio, everything that's not heavy rock; music drawing on diversity and depth." Originally released in late 1982, La Varieté remains as heavenly a romantic Sunday afternoon album as has ever been. Employing a handful of exceptional London jazz musicians, these 12 tracks sustain an easy, rolling groove that, for all of its tastefulness, is never not lively. Statton, while never a technically great singer, lends "Summerdays" and "The End Of The Affair" an intimate honesty, as if she were a smitten suitor, singing for you alone. La Varieté proved to be quite a catalyst. Within a year, many of these musicians and producer Robin Millar were lending their services to a fledgling Everything But The Girl and young CBS Records signing, Sade. It also was likely that Paul Weller, anxious to leave the Jam for something new, was paying close attention. Here then - again, at last - is the original article. (Vinyl Japan)