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DESMOND SIMMONS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Alone on Penguin Island (UK Dome) 1981

On his own record (which Simmons singlehandedly wrote and performed), this Colin Newman cohort fell in with the austere minimalism of Newman's (then former) Wire colleagues, Graham Lewis and B.C. Gilbert, who produced Penguin Island. Simmons is more song-oriented than they are, but seemingly mistook reduction for redaction; despite some good songs here, they've been cut to the bone, made somewhat alien and abstract. A few even sound as though they were recorded underwater. All the same, a moving, high, lonesome quality does come across, as on the melodica-dominated instrumental title track. Patience is rewarded, but you may feel he made you work too hard.

[Jim Green]