Back in August 2013, I pulled together a posting on Is Vic There?, the 1981 hit single for Department S. I lavished all sorts of praise on it, but in describing the b-side, a cover of Solid Gold Easy Action that had been a hit for T.Rex back in 1972, as a ‘clunker’, I put forward the view that it was fair to assume that Department S. never did anything memorable beyond ‘Vic.’
I was taken to task by Crinan Dunbar, who offered the following view via the comments section:-
“Although ‘Is Vic There?’ is great, the later single ‘I Want’ is superior and worth a listen”
A complete flop which certainly deserved a better fate. And is that a trumpet I hear getting played as the tune motors along at a frantic pace? If so, over to you Jonny as you contemplate the next volume of a certain ICA.
I’ve tracked down the two b-sides which appeared on the 12″ release of I Want, and I think it’s fair to say that I was very wrong to say the band had done nothing memorable beyond one hit 45:-
The second of these b-sides is ridiculously jaunty and upbeat, given that its subject matter is suicide. Vaughan Toulouse‘s vocal delivery sounds like a cross between 70s era David Bowie and Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs.
Seems only right to finish things off today with another chance to hear the hit.
As I said back in 2013, this remains one of the most unique and catchy singles of the new wave era, It still sounds wonderful more than 40 years on.