ARTIST: Au Pairs
TITLE: Stepping Out of Line: The Anthology
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None. Their original albums did chart in the UK
SINGLES: You, It’s Obvious, Inconvenience
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: We’re So Cool, Come Again
LINEUP: Jane Munro, Lesley Woods, Paul Foad, Peter Hammond
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Mined from the same vein as the Gang of Four, the Au Pairs jagged punk funk was focused mostly on feminism and sexuality.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The guitars are sharp and pointed, dishing out short small riffs, while the bass and drums keep up a funk rhythm. The vocals are strident, sometimes more commanding than singing (especially later), and no, this isn’t the Gang of Four – it’s Au Pairs.
Lesley Woods spouts rails against sexism and advocates for feminists, with a touch of politics, while other guitarist Paul Foad tries to answer the best he can. Meanwhile, the stars are bassist Jane Munro and drummer Peter Hammond, who keep the grove going and the dance floor hopping.
This collection grabs everything they recorded, including BBC sessions. For the most part, there’s quality and distinction here, but the material tails off in both performance and quality during their second album (Woods sounds hoarse.) They broke up before their third album sessions in 1983, and that may have been for the best since their first statements were their best.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: They delivered a rousing “Come Again” during Urgh! A Music War.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE B+: A sadly forgotten band except for post-punk scholars and die-hards. It brought feminism and discussions of sexual freedom to the scene.