Having rediscovered recently that VH1 Classic does still broadcast music programming of considerable interest to ’80s music fans, I recently caught a rebroadcast of just a few minutes of an old episode of the classic modern rock series 120 Minutes. That was just long enough to witness the creepy majesty of one of early goth rock’s most interesting bands, British group Killing Joke. The music video for the compelling “A New Day” is probably not best viewed under the influence of any sort of intoxicant, as lead singer Jaz Coleman strikes an affecting Grand Guignol-esque pose that has a tendency to stay burned on the brain. Still, this is only a small part of the story of this track – and the versatile overall gifts of Killing Joke as well.
Though the band is probably known better for the novelty 1984 tune “Eighties,” this track from the same year far better captures the brooding but energetic style of this highly intriguing, always original post-punk outfit. Haunting, arpeggiated guitars work in tandem with Coleman’s forceful vocal style to create a bona fide rock sound that clashes wonderfully with punishing, pre-industrial percussive beats. Frequent visitors to this site may be a bit surprised to hear of my affinity for the kind of repetitive, plodding arrangement on display here, but sometimes intensity and a partially anti-melodic approach can accomplish much with minimal aural accoutrements. That’s a fancy way of saying I don’t really know why I enjoy “A New Day” as much as I do, but I can’t deny its power and skin-burrowing appeal.
- Sample or download “A New Day” here.
- Watch the song’s 1984 music video here.
- Compare prices on Killing Joke CDs here.
- Top Psychedelic Furs Songs of the ’80s
- Post-Punk Genre Profile
Single Cover Image Courtesy of E’G Records