Monday, March 07, 2005

The Effigies

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photo: courtesy DementLieu

Though never attaining the sweetheart acclaim awarded other Chicago acts (i.e. Naked Raygun, Big Black) The Effigies remain a personal favorite of mine and many others due to their compelling body of work. Mixing an explosive guitar sound and dynamic rhythm section with regular joe lyrics, the Effigies were tough to pigeonhole. Describing them as "hardcore" or "punk" doesn't reflect the depth and detail of what the band brought to the table. The Effigies sound was marked by progression over the course of 7 years, 3 albums, and a couple of EP's. Starting with the edgy and rough sounds of Haunted Town to the taut indie/post punk sounds of Ink, The Effigies refined their sound a bit each time out.

I'll save discussion of the later material for another time. The bands most immediate material was produced by the lineup of John Kezdy(v), Steve Economou(d), Paul Zamost(b), and Earl Letiecq(g). This lineup produced a stream of solid releases from 1981-1984: 1981's Haunted Town 12", 1982's Body Bag 7", 1983's We're Da Machine 12", and 1984's For Ever Grounded LP. After the release of For Ever Grounded the band parted with guitarist Earl Letiecq. Subsequent albums Fly On A Wire and Ink missed the burly guitar sound of the earlier work, but stood well as something "different" (for lack of better term).

in 1989 Roadkill records took the choice cuts from the early years (but only part of For Ever Grounded) and put them out as the Remains Nonviewable LP. In the '90's Touch&Go reissued the collection on CD (why the didn't put the whole of For Ever... on the release I'll never know). Cherry picking:

The Effigies - Below the Drop.mp3
the lead track from Haunted Town. Everytime I hear this intro I can't help but get pumped, definitely my favorite track

The Effigies - Body Bag.mp3
I'm torn between putting up Body Bag or the bass driven "B" side "Security". Decisions. I'm going with "A" side.

The Effigies - What's The Beat.mp3
One of the For Ever Grounded tracks omitted from Remains... (ignore those dated thunderclaps!) Hopefully somebody will give For Ever Grounded and the other albums a proper reissue!

Stuff and Nonsense:
  • official website
  • Obik has a thorough shrine setup for the Effigies
  • TrouserPress overview
  • A review of a 2004 reunion show
  • A new album in the bag?!??
  • Buy Remains Nonviewable