Howard Devoto owns a poetic wit that underscores not only his own disappointments with the world around him, but also mirrored the fans’ own acerbic realizations of their surroundings. With an unmatched and encompassing talent to frame all of those observations with music way ahead of their (Magazine) time, Devoto gave life to a band that had never received their rightful due. After their untimely demise, Devoto continued to voice his discontent in a solo work away from the comfortable borders of Magazine. Released in 1983, Jerky Versions of the Dream was heartily welcomed by Magazine’s orphaned fans.
Jerky Versions of the Dream came about because, although Devoto had lost faith in a continuing audience, he had yet to exhaust his songwriting. Fueled by several sessions with various musicians that included Barry Adamson (Magazine, Nick Cave), Jerky Versions of the Dream was completed and released to cultish delight that avidly followed Devoto’s tenure with Magazine. The music was decidedly influenced by the times (the ‘80s.) Although somewhat removed from the recognizable Magazine aesthetics, Devoto still employed a more intelligent flow of music.
Jerky Versions of the Dream contains the single that was released from the album, “Rainy Season,” a song that could easily have been a superior Magazine song had the original talents had their way with it. And it served to remind fans that Howard Devoto still had his compass working. It was followed by “Cold Imagination” but even that song could not chart and help Jerky Versions of the Dream to move past (57) on the music charts. Afterward, Devoto saw little reason to continue when it was obvious he appealed to not much beyond a cult following. The Top 40 loving crowd could not plug into Devoto and his chaotic versions of realities around us.
In addition to the excellent 2007 remasters of Magazine’s four albums, Devoto’s lone solo effort, The Jerky Versions of the Dream receives the same excellent remastering as well as being augmented by six closely attached songs. The album’s first song (“Rainy Season”) as a 7” edit is included here. There are also an extended version and a BBC Radio 1 Peel Session version of the album’s non-charting second single (“Cold Imagination.”) Other bonus inclusions are BBC Radio 1 Peel Session versions of “Topless,” and “Some Will Pay (For What Others Pay to Avoid,” and a dance remix called “Rainforest (Variation N16),” essentially a transformed usage of the music found on “Rainy Season.”
The 12-page booklet contains all of the lyrics to the songs on this album. It also includes a well-written biography, timeline, and observation on the period of The Jerky Versions of the Dream by Kieron Tyler. There are no additional photos to further expand the album other than the cover shot.
Devoto re-emerged later in Luxuria for several albums that deserve to be investigated by those now becoming interested in the Devoto saga. If you are intrigued, you are heartily encouraged to begin with Magazine, and logically work your way sequentially until you have immersed yourself in the Devoto/Magazine catalogue.