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DIAGRAM BROTHERS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Some Marvels of Modern Science (UK New Hormones) 1981
Discordo 45 EP (UK New Hormones) 1982

Something like XTC (but lacking their musical smarts or stellar wit), the Diagram Brothers — of the Manchester art-noise family encircling the Buzzcocks' New Hormones label — play dissonant weirdness with lyrics about current events. Song titles pretty much say it all: "Isn't It Interesting How Neutron Bombs Work," "I'm a Policeman," "I Didn't Get Where I Am Today by Being a Right Git." While the poorly produced music only hints at talent hidden behind the quartet's anti-music self-indulgence, it's actually the four-sheet insert, containing detailed fold-cut-paste directions for assembly into a portfolio about the record, that evinces real cleverness.

The 10-inch EP adds four more episodes of whimsical wordplay ("I would like to make/A special toast/To my new toaster") and more appealing instrumental oddity (do I hear a tuba?) to the Diagram Brothers' legend.

[Ira Robbins]