EASTER & THE TOTEM - The Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts LP
Tromping around South London through most of the 1980s, Easter & the Totem released three LPs (the first one at the urging of John Peel) and a few singles. The Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts is the band’s second full length. Recorded between 1982 and 1985 - a year and a half break in between - the band takes its original influences of the Fall and Joy Division and surges into angry, pop-enhanced, DIY-stamped rock & roll. The Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts has a sound similar to yet less polished than contemporaries The Smiths and Echo & the Bunnymen.
Propelled Mike Barry’s acidic lyrics and by drummer Steve Mountain, Easter & the Totem perfectly capture working class rock & roll discontent with Margaret Thatcher and the 1980s UK. That the band never signed to a major wasn’t due to their lack of great tunes, but because the band would rather have fun playing benefits for the Bromley Unemployed Group and the South London Musicians Collective than yucking it up with the suits. Good thing for our ears: Easter & the Totem’s non-carreerist approach to rock & pop ages extremely well, not bogged down by the studio fads and major label production that killed some of their peers. And their lyrics are just as relevant today as there were back when Thatcher ruled England.
The Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts was originally released in 1985 on Mike Barry’s Ideological Sounds label in a pretty small pressing. While it never got mass distribution, a few copies snuck out. We at Ss Records HQ stumbled on a copy in the early 90s the back room of a record store (score!) and spun it so many times, we finally put it on our “to reissue” list. After many years of trying, we got permission and here ya go: The first appearence of this great record on vinyl in 30 years. (SS078)