Having a few months back procured an elusive copy of Peach Of Immortality sole "proper" album as it were, the sardonically titled Talking Heads '77, I have been fascinated and transfixed by the motivations of Tom Smith (instigator and mastermind of the ingenious To Live And Shave In L.A.) regarding his second band (following the similarly elusive Boat Of), particularly how distinct an entity POI appear to be from Smith's idiosyncratic and singular work in TLASILA. Myself having been converted years back to TLASILA by their opus The Wigmaker In Eighteenth Century Williamsburg, as demented and ecstatic a listening experience as one is privy to come by (seriously, there's no turning back after experiencing this behemoth), I've always been intrigued when coming by mention of POI's under-documented existence.
While having operated in various forms of membership throughout the bulk of the 80's, the POI on the aforementioned TH77 LP from 1985 is at first notice much more restrained and studied that one might be used to from Smith, this prospect being especially arresting when one takes into account the splatter-punk-noise collages of TLASILA's 90's output (i.e. Vedder Vedder Bedwetter and "Helen Butte" Vs. Masonna Pussy Badsmell). On this particular recording, Smith and his collaborators (guitarist Jared Hendrickson and cellist Rogelio Maxwell) weave in and out of each other's aural space with distinct patience but concurrently with enough spontaneous unrest as to make for sessions that stand as anything but passive. A couple years ago, the Dead C joked that they were "The AMM Of Punk Rock" on their Future Artists LP, and I almost feel that moniker would make logical sense with POI, especially relating Smith's spasmodic tape abuse in this project which compares distinctly with the radio manipulation on AMMMusic.
As befitting the elusive nature of the 80's avant underground, POI recorded a plethora of material intended for releases that dishearteningly never saw the light of day. Here's hoping Smith or another passionate soul revisits these down the line. In the meantime, the glory of YouTube has some vintage footage of the crew in action:
The TH77-era configuration live on Arlington, VA public access, 1985:
A more "aggro" configuration performing at the D.C. institution 9:30 Club in 1987: