Hailing from Alsager in North West England, Garage Class were a group of reluctant outliers who produced one of the finest contributions to the wave of UK DIY music that emerged during the late '70s and early to mid-'80s. Released in 1984, four years after it was originally recorded, the 'Terminal Tokyo' single stands as an unlikely triumph of exceptional messthetic punk.
In the years since, 'Terminal Tokyo' has accumulated a retrospective appeal among certain trusted circles, with Jon Dale celebrating the single in his exhaustive and essential Story of UK DIY for FACT Magazine, and original copies regularly changing hands for a foolish forty quid or so. With the forthcoming inaugural release on Outer Reaches - a new label by Tim Wilson and Ransom Note Records, championing DIY & experimental music both old and new - 'Terminal Tokyo' has finally been remastered and reissued for the very first time.
The titular A-side reveals the dry and detached drawl of lead singer Tim Shutt, a sharp, jaded and poetic voice that has some of the most iconic lines never heard in punk. The original B-side has been substituted for 'I Got Standards', a track that has somehow remained unreleased until now. It's also been given a rework courtesy of Optimo's JD Twitch who, continuing his own fascination with the fringe history of UK DIY, reinterprets the crude magnificence of 'I Got Standards' as an incisive, dubwise outing, built to play loud on contemporary soundsystems.
Out 21st September on digital and limited 10", 'Terminal Tokyo' should be catnip for fans of similarly ragged groups such as Swell Maps, Buzzcocks, Television Personalities and The Cleaners from Venus.
Although the latter part of 1980 spelled the end for Garage Class with members moving on to other projects, this reissue attempts to give their fleeting time together and the unique single statement they made the treatment it deserves. If this means Garage Class have obtained cult status, their initial appeal remains. Just listen for yourself.
Terminal Tokyo is out 21st September via Outer Reaches and you can pre-order it here.