A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls (Has Gone Missing)’ Japanese CD (Mute ALCB-5, 1989)

It was still in the era of vinyl-only for me when I first bought this album – it would not be until Wire’s ‘Manscape’ album the following year that the lure of CD would prove too much, since a good chunk of that album was missing from the vinyl copy. ‘One Of Our Girls (Has Gone Missing)’ was the one and only album release by A.C. Marias and the Wire connection comes via Bruce Gilbert primarily, though it stretched back to 1980 and the ‘Dome’ album by Gilbert and Lewis (with vocals on the cool and strange ‘Cruel When Complete’) then 1981 and first actual A.C. Marias named release on the Gilbert/Lewis ‘Dome’ label, with single ‘Drop’/‘So’.

I’m focusing here on the Japanese CD release which I came across many years later when I realised it benefitted for extra tracks that the UK CD did not include.

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - front cover design

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – front cover design

This album is a good bit different from that first single – somewhat more technology driven by this stage. As well as Angela Conway herself, credits are minimal – near non-existent in truth, and seem to miss off some that had already been detailed on the singles – but they namecheck Mute/Blackwing Studios stalwarts Gareth Jones, Paul Kendall and John Fryer, as well as Wire’s Bruce Gilbert, while writing credits are mostly Conway and Gilbert, other than the two cover versions and a co-write with Jones on ‘To Sleep’.

A couple of singles preceded this 1989 album. ‘Just Talk’ from 1986 was a minimal, guitar-scaffolded slice of slow-unfolding hypnotic beauty with a hint of quiet menace growing in parallel. 1988’s cover of Canned Heat’s ‘Time Was’ (which also credit Barry Adamson and Rowland S Howard on the sleeve) was not included on the vinyl album, but does appear on all CD versions. ‘Just Talk’ benefits from two memorable visual documents – the promo video itself (YouTube link) lo-fi unusually pub-based choreography and all – and a later ‘live’ recorded performance on the Tony Wilson hosted ‘Other Side of Midnight’ (YouTube link) in 1988, just Gilbert on hypnotic acoustic guitar and Conway singing.

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet rear cover design

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet rear cover design

The album, when it arrived, was a good deal more synth and drum machine based than those singles had given an impression of. Those soft, mysterious words and vocals still present and correct though. Tracks such as ‘There’s A Scent Of Rain In The Air’, ‘Give Me’, ‘Looks Like’ and ‘To Sleep’ conjure up a dreamier feel – a dream where you’d want to keep one eye open though, cat-like, due to an air that is difficult to put a finger on – ominous, perhaps? Those ‘barely there’ vocals that could as easily flip into something else altogether on a hair-trigger. More identifiably Gilbert guitar stylings to the music are to be found elsewhere, not least on the high-water mark of the driving, relentless title track – stunning stuff – it would be edited down and released as a single in early 1990 (once again with a highly memorable promo video (YouTube link)) and would mark the last release as A.C. Marias.

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - disc label design

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – disc label design

The bonus tracks found here are welcome and round up the B sides from the album’s three singles, taking in ‘Just Talk’ (Version), which on the single release is titled ‘Just Talk (No Talk)’ to denote its instrumental nature; ‘Something’ is the same track as ‘Some Time’ on the album but in a notably different version; and Lou Reed cover version, ‘Vicious’, would appear on the ‘One Of Our Girls’ single release – no credit here for the musicians, Mute Drivers, though.

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - rear case design

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – rear case design

Missing from this CD are the single edit of the title track and the 7” edit of ‘Just Talk’. Were it to have included those, it would have collected together all of the Mute-era releases. Probably stretching it a bit far to also include ‘Drop’ and ‘So’ though, but for completeness that would certainly dot the i’s and cross the t’s… It is possible to find ‘Drop’ on the curated compilation album ‘Fame (Jon Savage’s Secret History Of Post-Punk 78-81)’, though do note that it is a needle-drop – the LP commands hefty prices now, but it is available digitally via Qobuz and iTunes, for example.

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet inner spread 1

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet inner spread 1

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet inner spread 2

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet inner spread 2

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet inner spread 3

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet inner spread 3

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet inner spread 4

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet inner spread 4

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet inner spread 5

A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet inner spread 5

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet inner spread 6

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet inner spread 6

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet inner spread 7

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet inner spread 7

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet inner spread 8

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet inner spread 8

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet inner spread 9

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet inner spread 8

4 Responses to “A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls (Has Gone Missing)’ Japanese CD (Mute ALCB-5, 1989)”

  1. Scott says:

    Whilst indeed a needle-drop on the Fame compilation – it was taken from my copy of the 7″ – the surface noise is an instrinsic part of the recording. Correspondingly, the sleeve of Drop/So is printed with fake creases and wear to look aged. I wonder how many potential buyers have been put off buying a copy due to these ‘flaws’.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Scott… Thanks for commenting… Good question about whether it puts anyone off – I always feel the key thing in situations where a copy has had to be sourced from vinyl is to make mention of it and then its up to the individual to make their own decision. Certainly didn’t put me off buying my copy of the album. For me personally, far worse than the natural sound of a vinyl copy is where it has been digitally ‘cleaned up’ and that has adversely affected the natural sound.

  3. Scott says:

    Sorry, I should have been clearer in my original comment. The scratches and surface noise on the Drop/So 7″ are part of the recording – they’re not due to the surface of the vinyl, just as the apparent creases and ringwear on the sleeve are actually printed on. I assume this to be a piece of Dome/Gilbert & Lewis mischief-making. I managed to get hold of a new/unplayed copy of the 7″ and this was used by CTR for the mastering of the Fame compilation.

  4. admin says:

    Ahhh, understood! This explains a lot about this release, thanks again, as I’ve only ever seen the one copy second-hand, which I bought, even though it was not in the best of condition to start with and comes in a plain white cover, not the original – here’s me assuming it was just an especially duff copy. In a similar vein, I wonder if a previous owner threw the original cover away assuming it was tatty and replaced it with the neat, new generic one… a certain humour in that, if it were otherwise fine.

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