Of the particularly fruitful New York City music scene around the turn of the eighties, many bands blossomed. Many bands dive-bombed. With the reissue of their first—and only—album, Social Climbers have one last chance at the former. A product of the Post-Punk/No Wave scene with an especially notorious flair for hijinks, had Social Climbers issued this record today, it might have found an audience.
Social Climbers never made a monumental impact, but despite their obscurity, nearly 30 years after they called it quits Drag City released Social Climbers, a self-titled compilation of the band’s 11 recordings, culling from their three long-forgotten 7" records. While often defined as a no wave band, the trio skirted around art rock, dub disco, and plastic soul to make music that pushed the parameters of no wave. In other words, they were the oddballs of an oddball scene.
Social Climbers was a part of the no-wave movement in New York in 1980. But even for that marginalized genre—from which bands like Teenage Jesus and Suicide grew—they were very much on the outside of things. Their sound maybe broke down our expectations of music, and was unpredictable, but it was also very much interested in melody and lacked, in some ways, the reactionary post-punk-rock edge much of no-wave got bogged down in.