Today I’m featuring a single that I picked up a few years ago in a charity shop for the princely sum of 25p.

mp3 : Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls – Dream Sequence I
mp3 : Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls – Dream Sequence II

Pauline Murray was one of the first girls to come out of the punk movement. She was just 18 years of age when she came to prominence as lead singer with Penetration, whose debut single from November 1977 is a true landmark effort:-

mp3 : Penetration – Don’t Dictate

Sorry, I couldn’t resist including that – a rare example of a single from punk era that has just not lost any of its appeal the best part of 40 years on.

Penetration split up in 1980 after just two albums and five singles. Pauline was just 22 years of age at the time, and her next project was with the aforementioned The Invisible Girls who were in fact the backing band for the Salford poet John Cooper Clarke. The new combo released a self-titled album in 1980, a piece of work that was critically acclaimed but didn’t sell all that well.

It was a record that came out on Illusive Records which was a subsidiary of RSO Records which, if memory was the biggest label in the world at the end of the 70s as it was home to The Bee Gees as well as being the label for the soundtrack to Grease.

But it would have been perfectly at home, and indeed a better fit, if it had been on Factory Records as it  had production from Martin Hannett (who also played on the record) and a sleeve by Peter Saville, both of whom of course are central characters in the rise and fall of the best label to ever come out of Manchester. Oh and the drummer was John Maher of Buzzcocks….

I was delighted to grab a copy of the single as I used to have a copy of the subsequent self-titled Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls debut album but as I’ve not seen it in the cupboard for years so I can only assume that I loaned it to someone and forgot to ask for it back. What I do remember is that it was a record slightly ahead of its time, relying on the then largely unfamiliar sound of synthesisers with Pauline’s vocals often being well back in the mix as if they were an instrument. It really is one of the great lost albums of the era (literally in my case…..).

I do see that last year the album was re-released with a bonus disc of Peel Sessions, remixes and live versions.  I might well go and track it down….or I might go to the online second-hand market for a copy of the vinyl.  Either way, it’s on a list of things to do.


10 thoughts on “DREAM SEQUENCES

  1. I liked Penetration a lot at the time, but Pauline’s work with The Invisible Girls was such a leap forward musically that it still sounds contemporary today. You’re dead right, the album would’ve been a perfect fit for Factory. You need to find yourself another copy of that LP pronto.

  2. It’s definitely worth seeking out Pauline Murray’s solo work – the presence of the Invisible Girls and Hannett makes it very special too. I’ve got the vinyl and the CD so I can’t advise as to which you should get as they both have plus points! 🙂

  3. I bought the 7″ a few years ago at, I think, a kind of indie bring ‘n’ buy affair in Glasgow. Superb song. Have played it a couple of times at club nights and folk love it and, if they aren’t familiar with it, always want to know who it’s by.

  4. Get that Invisible Girls reissue! I discovered them way too late in the game, but they are a foundation band for my Post Punk listening. I will always love Pauline Murray’s “coming off the helium” vocals. Hannett really had a particular wall of sound that he massaged for each and every act he worked with.

  5. It was not on my radar back in the day either. I first heard/of/about Pauline Murray + The Invisible Girls when a good friend sent me the “Mr. X” 7″ in 2012! It became a quick obsession and it was about a year later that I got my copy of the original LP when shopping with Echorich in Georgetown record stores back in ’13. Fun times, but I still have not played the wax! Now I need that DLX RM CD now that it’s affordable and back in print with a wealth of bonus material.

  6. FYI in case you don’t know, Pauline is recording a new Penetration album right now, which you can pre-order via Pledge.

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