Reviews and articles

Techno Twins

Melody Maker, 1982

Bev Sage and Steve Fairnie narrowly missed out in the anything-goes punk delirium with Writz. Their ritzy lust for adventure also took them close with Famous Names. The odds on the Techno Twins making it third time lucky must now be pretty short. They’ve certainly got the image brilliantly groomed – all that glam nostalgia and a sense of commercialism that moulds Marilyn Monroe with Glenn Miller (‘I Wanna Be Loved By You’) is surely going to be rewarded sooner or later. It may actually be later.

They seem to have got everything right except the music. ‘Falling In Love Again’ and ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love Again’ are both ripe for revival, great songs that fulfil all the conditions of romance and alluring mystique present in the image – but the treatments of both fail to inject the necessary edge and Bev’s voice is far too diffident and easily lost in the mix. And the record as a whole tends to be flabbily lavish where it needs to go easier on the posing and treat the music with as much passion as the sleeve pix. To be blunt, it needs less romance and more sex.

More, in fact, like the Twins’ fringe involvement, the ‘Casualtease’. Less self-conscious by far, ‘Casualtease’ concentrates less on honing image and selling points and gets on with the music. Absurdly indulgent and frequently gaudy, it nevertheless presents an engaging enough selection. basically it’s dance music all dressed up in feathers and velvet with Bev gushing along on the occasional thickly accented vocal, even turning her hand to Dietrich again with a version of ‘Lily Marlene’ which carries all the vocal strength she so patently lacks on ‘Technostalgia’. The way ‘Lily Marlene’ segues into the vigorous ‘Military Business’ reminds us that even clothes horses can come up with the dash of musical flair.”

Colin Irwin

Strait Magazine, 1985

Fairnie waves his hands. It’s been a long time since their last show. “We’re like Punch and Judy but we’ve lost the puppets. We’ve got two hands and it doesn’t make sense to people. We say we’re a band and there’s these two hands, and we’ve lost the gloves.” Saturday night at Greenbelt and they’ll be back on for an hour or so. A band, some special guests and the quality of showmanship we’ve come to expect from them. A rich imagination, an oblique sense of humour, a joyful zest for life. All trademarks of a Techno show. the songs featured will be from the forthcoming long player ‘Foreign Land’, with a little Technostalgia no doubt. It’ll be a sort of Open Day at the greenhouse to see how they’ve been growing as songwriters over the last two years. “Up till now”, says Fairnie, “everything’s been a learning process and we don’t seem to have settled on a stylistic niche. The album is Bev and I learning to write songs and going in a direction together. It’s more stylistically true than ‘Technostalgia’. It’s dance… and yet there are songs which have more lyrical content and others which are slightly more throwaway.” Now signed to the select ranks of Warner Bros, there’s a greater confidence apparent in recent songs, particularly the wonderful ‘Crying in the Rain’, which is bound to be a highlight of the show. Meanwhile other projects are undertaken, many as ‘survival techniques’, with a long term goal of paring down to what’s closest to their heart – ‘hopefully we’ll concentrate on the two things, just The Technos and the Fine Art; and home. A house is being bought in Bristol, with a room for a studio where Fairnie will return to his original discipline.’A Christian couple making a living out of being creative’ is how they describe what they’re doing. “We do enjoy our lives, we do enjoy the church we go to… we don’t want to be incredibly famous. It’s just the thing of getting up in the morning and doing creative projects”. They know what Spike Milligan meant when he said recently, “I’m just a canary whistling a tune”. “Give us some seed and we’ll whistle”, says Fairnie. Willingly. A song like ‘Foreign Land’, one of 1983’s best singles, is worth a lot of Trill, that’s for sure. Lovely plumage indeed.

Simon Potter