“The songs on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell . . . had a kind of magic we didn’t necessarily control ourselves.” Chris Brokaw – interview with Neil Kulkarni, 2013.
Come’s 1992 debut album ’11:11′ was devastating to anyone who heard it. The sound this Boston four-piece created seemed beamed in from out of the blue and into the black. Singer and guitarist Thalia Zedek (ex of Live Skull), guitarist Chris Brokaw (then also in NYC slowcore pioneers Codeine) and the rhythm section of Sean O’Brien (ex-Kilkenny Cat) and Arthur Johnson (former Bar-B-Q Killer) created a transmission of traumatic beauty markedly unlike anything else at the time, a sound you craved more of, a sound you instantly got addicted to.
So waiting for the next album was torturous. And when it came in the form of 1994’s ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’, beyond it miraculously managing to surpass its predecessor, the album hits you immediately as one of the greatest dissident records ever made.
Dissident from traditional rock — this is a band playing music that thematically and structurally seems to pull from old Europa, from Eastern folk and modernist classical music as much as US and UK rock. Dissident from traditional ideas about singing and songwriting — Thalia’s presence on songs like ‘Yr Reign’ and the astonishing closer ‘Arrive’ isn’t the pushy self-aggrandizement of a lead singer but the internal voice of the eternal migrant, someone who knows about survival, hiding, how living between multiple worlds can become its own refuge of distance, its own sanctuary of unbelonging. ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ emerged from a period of cohesion, a break from the tight and hectic touring schedule Come had been plunged into after the acclaim accorded ‘11:11′, and you can hear that increased focus in every moment — the layers of guitars and feedback are even more precise, the structuring of songs takes on a new openness and ambition, and the whole narrative arc of the record from ‘Finish Line’ to ‘Arrive’ is more exquisitely realised and sequenced.
– Neil Kulkarni, February 2021
‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ (Expanded Edition) is released on limited edition Rough Trade Exclusive 2LP red vinyl, double black LP and 2CD.
Remastered newly expanded edition includes Wrong Sides: b-sides and unreleased tracks.
Includes new artwork with unearthed photos and fresh liner notes by the band.