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ESSENTIAL LOGIC (Buy CDs by this artist)
Beat Rhythm News (UK Rough Trade) 1979
Essential Logic EP (UK Virgin) 1979
LORA LOGIC
Pedigree Charm (UK Rough Trade) 1982

Essential Logic quickly outlived its usefulness as a vehicle for Lora Logic, once a member of X-Ray Spex, and a most distinctive talent. The original lineup — featured on the band's eponymous four-song debut — includes two guitars, two saxes (including Logic herself) and a clunky rhythm section; a loose but comfortable ensemble. Logic's songwriting had yet to bloom, though her vocal style was already developing.

She was still loopy but lovable on Beat Rhythm News, but her singing had become highly stylized with a distinct edge. A tighter rhythm guitarist replaced the uninspired duo of the EP, and Essential Logic soared. The music's vivacity is occasionally undercut by tinny production and a tendency to ramble, and Lora's growth as a writer and performer warranted more versatile backing. The next Logical step: a solo career.

Logic continued to evolve on her first solo outing. Her voice — much better produced — has a slightly softer, jazzy inflection, and her eclectic writing assumes a poppy sheen. Even hitherto impenetrable lyrics reveal a translucent clarity in spots. Businesslike dance rhythms and fewer straying sax excursions take additional steps towards accessibility. Pedigree Charm is a delight.

Abandoning rock'n'roll, Logic — along with former bandmate Poly Styrene — wound up becoming a Hare Krishna devotee and playing in a (religious) cult band.

[Mark Fleischmann]