Deceit (album)

Deceit is the second and final studio album by English experimental rock band This Heat, released in September 1981 by Rough Trade Records. As with their self-titled debut album, the tracks on Deceit were assembled from largely improvised recordings that the band accumulated since their inception in 1976, with varying degrees of audio quality.[citation needed] However, it is generally considered to be more song-oriented than its largely abstract predecessor. The title is in part a pun on the band's name.[1]

Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1981
  • Cold Storage, Zipper Mobile, Mekon, Berry Street, Vineyard, and Nivelles in London
  • Surrey Sound in Surrey
LabelRough Trade
This Heat chronology
Health and Efficiency
Additional cover art
The cover art (as shown in the 1991 CD booklet) reflected This Heat's anxiety about nuclear war.
The cover art (as shown in the 1991 CD booklet) reflected This Heat's anxiety about nuclear war.

Deceit is regarded as a classic of the post-punk era, and was ranked at number 73 on Pitchfork's 2018 list of the "The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s".[2]


In a 1991 interview, Charles Hayward explained that the threat of nuclear warfare motivated the band and provided the album with an underlying theme: "The whole speak, 'Little Boy', 'Big Boy' [sic], calling missiles cute little names. The whole period was mad! We had a firm belief that we were going to die and the record was made on those terms.… The whole thing was designed to express this sort of fear, angst, which the group was all about, really."[3] The album's subject matter also deals with war and imperialism.[4]

As with other This Heat recordings, much of the album was recorded at Cold Storage, a disused refrigerated storeroom at a former meat pie factory in Acre Lane, Brixton, England.[5] The music included new improvisations along with songs the band had been playing during live performances; portions of these songs were culled from actual concert recordings, such as "Makeshift Swahili", which was assembled from three different performances.[3][5] As Hayward describes, "some of the album was really plush sounding, some dim and pokey. Sometimes it would sound like the machinery was breaking up. We deliberately would make it sound as though the record player was exploding."[3][a]


The cover art for Deceit, designed by bandmember Gareth Williams and Nicholas Goddall, reflects the album's lyrical concerns, and includes a photomontage of images such as mushroom clouds, thematic maps depicting nuclear arsenals and photographs of Ronald Reagan, Leonid Brezhnev and Nikita Khrushchev. Charles Hayward explained that the album's cover photograph was achieved by using cut-out images from a Protect and Survive pamphlet, which were then assembled into a mask shape, photographed and projected over Williams' face.[6]


During the 1990s, intermittent availability made Deceit a rarity and a collector's item among fans. In 2006, This Is, a Recommended Records imprint, released a remastered version of Deceit as part of the 6-CD Out of Cold Storage box set. This Is also released the album as a separately available CD. In January 2016, Light in the Attic imprint Modern Classics Recordings pressed remastered reissues of Deceit, This Heat, and Health and Efficiency on vinyl.[7]

Critical reception and legacyEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [8]
Pitchfork9.0/10 (2002)[9]
9.1/10 (2016)[7]
PopMatters          [10]

Deceit has been well received by critics. Andy Kellman of AllMusic wrote of the album: "Out of all the boundary breaking that occurred during the fertile era of post-punk, This Heat's Deceit is one of the most expansive, imaginative and remarkably wild records to have been produced during the time—and very possibly the last three decades."[8] The Trouser Press Record Guide described the album as "austere, brilliant and indescribable."[1] Miles Bowe of Tiny Mix Tapes called it a "radiation-soaked masterpiece".[12]

Deceit is regarded as a classic of the post-punk era, and was ranked at number 20 on Pitchfork's 2002 list of "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s"[13] and at number 73 on its 2018 list of "The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s".[2]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by This Heat (Charles Hayward, Gareth Williams, Charles Bullen).

2."Paper Hats"5:57
4."S. P. Q. R."3:26
6."Shrink Wrap"1:40
7."Radio Prague"2:21
8."Makeshift Swahili"4:04
10."A New Kind of Water"4:57
11."Hi Baku Shyo 被爆症 (Suffer Bomb Disease)"4:03


This Heat
  • Charles Hayward – vocals, bass guitar, keyboards, drums, tape music
  • Gareth Williams – vocals, bass guitar, keyboards, tape music
  • Charles Bullen – vocals, clarinet, guitar, drums, tape music
  • David Cunningham – production
  • Martin Frederick – mixing
  • Laurie-Rae Chamberlain – colour xerography
  • Nicholas Goodall – sleeve photography direction
  • Studio 54 – sleeve design


Chart (1981) Peak
UK Independent Albums (MRIB)[14] 18


  1. ^ The source text actually reads "record played", but this is assumed to be a typographical error.


  1. ^ a b Grant, Steven (1991). Robbins, Ira (ed.). The Trouser Press Record Guide (4th ed.). New York: Collier Books. p. 673. ISBN 0-02-036361-3. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b "The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. 10 September 2018. p. 7. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Plunkett, Daniel (June 1992). "Charles Hayward". N D. Vol. 16. pp. 7–14.
  4. ^ Tudor, Alexander (7 November 2008). "Classic Political Records: This Heat Deceit". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  5. ^ a b Cutler, Chris (2006). Out of Cold Storage (CD booklet). Recommended Records.
  6. ^ Breznikar, Klemen (29 March 2019). "This Heat interview Charles Hayward". It's Psychedelic Baby! Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b Sherburne, Philip (26 January 2016). "This Heat: This Heat / Health and Efficiency / Deceit". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  8. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Deceit – This Heat". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  9. ^ Leone, Dominique (18 February 2002). "This Heat: Deceit". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  10. ^ Soulsby, Nick (6 November 2020). "1981's 'Deceit' Is This Heat's Defining Statement and a Chilling Document of the Nuclear Age". PopMatters. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  11. ^ Bonner, Michael (17 March 2016). "This Heat – This Heat/Health & Efficiency/Deceit reissued". Uncut. Archived from the original on 21 March 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  12. ^ Bowe, Miles (27 April 2012). "1981: This Heat – Deceit". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  13. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. 20 November 2002. p. 9. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  14. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). "This Heat". Indie Hits 1980–1989: The Complete U.K. Independent Charts (Singles & Albums). Cherry Red Books. ISBN 978-0-9517206-9-1. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2014.

External linksEdit