Home » Jazz Articles » Pere Ubu: By Order of Mayor Pawlicki

Album Review

Pere Ubu: By Order of Mayor Pawlicki


Sign in to view read count
Pere Ubu: By Order of Mayor Pawlicki
Launched in Cleveland, Ohio in 1975, the group's in-depth history includes shifting personnel changes, although charismatic front man/vocalist Dave Thomas has remained at the helm since the beginning. A notable live act as they get from A to Z in expeditious and often boisterous fashion, this two- CD set compiles 2017 performances in Jarocin, Poland and other tracks spanning 2013 -2018 in Croatia, France, and Germany.

The ensemble has coined its stylistic tendencies as avant-garage music, but at various intersections they generate slamming straight-four rock grooves and motifs that may summon memories of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band along with psych, prog and witty dramatic sequences kicked off by Thomas' hipster speak and frisky discourses. No doubt, they enjoy lively interactions with the audience.

Powerhouse bassist Michele Temple prominently steers the pulse on many tracks amid Robert Wheeler's flickering synths and guitarist Gary Siperko's lucid slide voicings and bristling single note licks intertwined with some good-natured mayhem during certain parts. However, Thomas kicks off "Real World" by stating the "real world is funky, it smells," leading to offbeat digressions, coupled with a catchy theme. Yet "My Dark Ages" is designed with the bassist's ostinato grooves and more of Siperko's fireworks, partially reminiscent of original Pink Floyd guitarist Syd Barrett's adventurist, experimental slide guitar configurations, all led by Thomas' wily singing about a 'solitary individual.'

The band's live shows contain the excitement of a 70s proto- punk unit. But Ubu is largely more complex, although the balls-to-the wall excitement factor looms radiantly on these largely brief and concise works. As Wheeler uses a theremin to insert an eerie background into "Vulgar Boatman Bird," where Thomas' whimsical choruses ride above a thrashing rocker, amped by the Temple's upfront attack and other factors complete with bawdy overtones. Moreover, "Visions of the Moon" is culled from the artists 2013 presentation in Zagreb, Croatia and features Darryl Boon's clarinet lines, along with the front line's subliminal musings and EFX maneuvers that morph into a free-form-like episodes. Thomas often spins matters into a gas of a party. But there's little doubt that the musicians mean business and pull quite a few tricks out of the bag on a continual basis, highlighting the outfit's signature brand, relating to its long run within rock music's outer limits.

Track Listing

CD1 – Intro; Heart Of Darkness; On The Surface; Petrified; Real World; Rhapsody In Pink; Modern Dance; Navvy; Small Was Fast Over My Head; Long Walk Home; Codex; My Dark Ages; Rounder; Dub Housing; Fabulous Sequel; Vulgar Boatman Bird; Caligari's Mirror; Final Solution. CD2 - Kick Out the Jams; Sonic Reducer; Final Solution; Visions of The Moon; Modern Dance Blues; Weird Cornfields; Merch Hypnotism.


David Thomas: voice / vocals; Gary Siperko: guitar, electric; Robert Wheeler: synthesizer; Michele Temple: bass; Steve Mehlman: drums; Keith Moline: guitar, electric; Gagarin: synthesizer; Darryl Boon: clarinet.

Additional Instrumentation

David Thomas: musette, roller bar; Robert Wheeler: theremin; Michele Temple: backing vocals; Steve Mehlman: piano, backing vocals;

Album information

Title: By Order of Mayor Pawlicki | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Cherry Red Records

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album



New Oxford Brevity
Dominic Lash / Pat Thomas
Dedicated To You
Joe Coughlin
Times Like These
Nica Carrington
Blue Note Re:imagined II
Various Artists


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.