Romeo Void

Thanks to the reductive onslaught of the "'80s party weekend" radio format and the numbing similarity of most '80s hits compilations, hearing the name Romeo Void instantly conjures up the phrase "I might like you better if we slept together" in most minds. The unforgettable chorus of their best-known song, 1981's "Never Say Never," the phrase on its own makes the song sound like some kind of shock-value novelty, and indeed, that's probably how many people remember it. Yet a careful listen to the verses, with their intimations of incest, murder, homelessness, and other dark subjects, makes plain that singer/lyricist Debora Iyall has more on her mind than simple salaciousness. The combination of Iyall's powerful vocals and searing imagery with the band's muscular blend of Joy Division's atmospherics and the Gang of Four's rattling momentum, with Benjamin Bossi's splattering free jazz saxophone coloring everything, made Romeo Void one of the strongest of the American post-punk bands.