Release Date: Jun 22, 2015
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Post-Punk
Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent first established the 4AD label in 1980, initially with funding from the duo’s previous employers, Beggars Banquet. Almost immediately, however, their new imprint became a hip name to drop and within 18 months they’d delivered seminal, cult-level debut LPs including Bauhaus’ In The Flat Field, The Birthday Party’s Prayers On Fire and Modern English’s Mesh & Lace. 4AD’s remarkable early alumni, though, also included several lesser-celebrated names – not least the largely unsung In Camera.
Era should be the final word on In Camera, a post-punk act signed to 4AD on the strength of a gig for which they shared a bill with Bauhaus. While together, the short-lived band released only a two-song 7" and a four-song 12", both of which were issued in 1980, and they bowed with a posthumously issued 12" edition of their all-originals BBC session for John Peel's program, also recorded in 1980. As for previous anthologies, there was 13 (Lucky for Some) in 1992 and the limited vinyl-only IV Songs + II.
Early on in his thorough and colorful Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD, author Martin Aston recounts some of the records released by the British label in 1980, and uses the East London band In Camera’s IV Songs EP as a prime example of the early aesthetics of 4AD and its storied figurehead, Ivo Watts-Russell: IV Songs was more proof that Ivo was content to put out records that were committed, passionate and uncompromising, though, looking back, the cumulative effect of the catalogue – Red Atkins not withstanding – was fifty shades of black. The gloom was claustrophobic. Where was the light and shade, the fuller spectrum of humanity? “Musically, that was the era,” Ivo argues.
There is no shame in not knowing who In Camera were. Like a few zillion other bands, they formed in the summer of 1978, just as punk rock was turning into post-punk. By the time they recorded their first single, 1980's "Die Laughing", they'd clearly had their minds blown by a couple of their contemporaries—especially Bauhaus (for whom they were opening when 4AD's Ivo Watts-Russell first heard them), Joy Division, and Public Image Ltd.
Era collects everything obscure post-punks In Camera recorded during their original 1978—1981 run. This amounts to a few singles, a Peel session, demos, and a handful of live recordings/rehearsals..