Flexibition #31: The The ‘Dumb As Death’s Head’


Here’s an oddity that you don’t hear much – a rare The The track given away free as a flexi disc with the Melody Maker in 1983. ‘Dumb As Death’s Head’ is an early Matt Johnson composition and, to my knowledge, this is the only place that it was officially released. You can hear a musical link to the earlier MJ solo album, ‘Burning Blue Soul’ and similar era tracks that later turned up on B-sides like ‘Leap Into The Wind’ or ‘The Nature of Virtue’.

What makes this special is that it’s been included in some track lists for the unreleased / scrapped ‘Pornography of Despair’ album – what was to be The The’s debut LP and a forerunner to ‘Soul Mining’ – and is certainly from the same time period. The version I found on YouTube was so terrible as to be almost unlistenable so I’ve encoded it again and cleaned it up although there are odd bumps and a jump at the start but such is the nature of flexi’s. I found my copy at a car boot sale in Surrey back in the late 80s, a time when locating something as ephemeral as this was a lot harder than it is today. Not hard to find now though, there are several for sale through the magic of Discogs as I type.

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