Sounds, May 1981, "Biting Tongues: Don't Heal"
BITING TONGUES 'Don't Heal'
REJECTING a few rock's suffocating precepts -- like the singing voice and the flowing melody line - Biting Tongues (great name!) present an initially hostile and, uh, difficult exhibition of noises. Largely percussive and rhythmic, a stylish command of the experimental beat, eventually becoming an increasingly hypnotic and insistent lure.
Much of it is basically a strident drum pattern overlaid with a crazy carousing saxophone and urgent vocal recitations, seemingly adapted from forgotten 'B' movies. The unlikely result is a compelling integration of Beefheart, Pere Ubu and maybe Public Image - or a less jazz-influenced version of the wonderful and demonic MX-80 Sound, though I suspect the BTs would claim never to have heard of them'.
By the third play, I was beginning to discover delightful extra musical dimensions - the gentle keyboard loop of 'Stabbing Soft Ice' or various guitars surging through on the Ballard-esque ‘Heart Disease’ with its opening “wherever he walks/paint blisters off the wall around him " - and appreciate the confrontive nature of it all instead of resenting it.
Biting Tongues, whoever they are (the sleeve does not show individual photos and names, but zero biographical details) are bright, slightly cynical, very exacting and occasionally exciting.
Without setting myself up as sole arbiter of worthwhile musical taste, I must advise you that you'll be doing yourself a dreadful disservice if you don't at least try to hear this record once (or alternatively MX 80 Sound's invigorating 'Hard Attack' on Island). Or have your tongue bitten off!