It's Immaterial were a British indie pop band from Liverpool, England, formed in 1980. They were best known for their 1986 single "Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune)", which reached number 18 in the UK Singles Chart.
It's Immaterial were formed by three former members of Yachts - Mancunian John Campbell vocals, Martin Dempsey guitar, and Henry Priestman keyboards - in addition to Paul Barlow, drums. By 1984, the band had been reduced to a duo - Campbell and Jarvis Whitehead, guitar and keyboards, who joined in 1982.
On 11 November 1981, around the time of the release of the band's third single, It's Immaterial recorded the first of four sessions for John Peel at BBC Radio 1. The track listing was "A Gigantic Raft (in the Philippines)", "Imitate The Worm", "White Man's Hut", and "Rake". "A Gigantic Raft" has since been featured on the soundtrack of Jonathan Demme's 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate.
In April 1985, the band recorded their fourth and final John Peel session (track listing: "Rope", "Hang On Sleepy Town", "Space", and "Festival Time"). In the same month, the band's Fish Waltz E.P. reached number 30 in the UK Indie Chart. Within a year of Fish Waltz, It's Immaterial had a hit single, "Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune)". John Campbell puts his foot down on the pedal - ever so gently - to cruise out along the M62. A Mini-Midwestern road movie transported to Liverpool. "Driving Away From Home" has since been featured widely on television advertisements and 1980s based compilation albums.
Another minor hit followed, "Ed's Funky Diner (Friday Night, Saturday Morning)", with accompanying video, before the release of the band's debut album, Life's Hard Then You Die, in September 1986. In 1990 they released Song. As before, the music was of a subdued, understated nature, with wry wit in the manner of an indie Pet Shop Boys. The album was a commercial flop, despite receiving positive reviews in the music press. The album was produced by Calum Malcolm, best known for his work with The Blue Nile, and had similar production values to The Blue Nile's first two albums.
In the same year as Song, former It's Immaterial keyboard player, Henry Priestman, had a UK number one album with The Christians.
Reviews for the debut album:
Michael Sutton at Allmusic wrote:,
Musically, the LP is all over the place -- new wave, country, blues, folk, and synth pop. Somehow the smorgasbord of styles works, because the band members aren't being eclectic just for the sake of it; they simply have a wide canvas, keeping the album fresh from beginning to end.
'C60 Low Noise' wrote:,
This is an intelligent and extremely well-realised album that belies its simplistic origins. For those of you who are genuinely moved by soaring harmonised vocals (courtesy of The Christians), ironic folk rendition, rolling Spanish guitars and tongue-in-cheek meanderings, I would seriously recommend this to you.
Dave Schulps at trouserpress.com wrote:,
A fascinating musical hybrid that touches variously on synth-pop, atmospheric art-rock, recitation and a unique brand of English country music. It may remind you of early OMD.