Chrysalis was disappointed in the album and did not release it in America. The band did one tour of America, without a release, and at the end of it, Tom Herman left.
For years, decades, the album was the Black Sheep, the Gorilla in the room, the weird aunt not talked about. One of the issues may have arisen from sound issues in the Suma control room. Still a new studio at the time of recording there may have been some fidelity problems in. the control room acoustics.
Later attempts at re-mastering it for cd threw up some strange anomalies. 15dbs could be added or subtracted from any frequency band without changing the soundscape in any substantive way. (15db is a massive amount.)
Years later we found a resolution and the quality of the album and recording was revealed. It was a shocking moment.
I remember feeling a wave of vindication. We got it right! I actually shouted it out to an empty room!
The band had been intent on stretching the boundaries of the song.
I pushed maybe too hard and not wisely. I was determined. 'All The Dogs Are Barking' was the breaking point. It was a pop song in the nature of what we had done before, a rock song with catchy hooks. I told Ken (Hamann, the engineer) to erase everything but the overdubs."
Normal studio problems were overcome by un-normal, sometimes extreme means.
"We wanted maracas in 'The Fabulous Sequel.' Suma only had one of a pair. Nobody wanted to take the time to go into town to get another one so we put some mics out on the gravel drive outside the front door and all walked around in different-sized circles until we got a maraca sound. Allen tried sawing through a drum head to get the sound. I can't remember the other ideas. That was the spirit of the album."
Engineered by Ken and Paul Hamann.
Recorded and mixed May 21-30 and June 4-28 1979 at Suma. Original lp mastered at Sterling Sound, New York City, under the supervision of Ken Hamann & Scott Krauss.
Artwork designed by John Thompson.
Photos by Mik Mellen.
The analog 1/4" 2-track mix tape from 1979 was digitally transferred by Paul Hamann at Suma at a 192khz / 24 bit resolution. Those files were mastered by Brian Pyle and with them Pete Norman cut the lacquers for vinyl at Finyl Tweek, London, on a Neumann VMS80 lathe. David Thomas prepared the download audio files from the 192khz / 24 bit masters. CD audio was produced by processing an analog signal run through the Sumex Brown Box converter, designed and built by Ken Hamann.
Digitally transferred and mastered by David Thomas and Paul Hamann at Suma in 1994. Songs written by Herman - Krauss - Maimone - Thomas - Ravenstine.
Dave McCullough, Sounds, 9/15/79
It's a drunken, wanton, wilful sounding album with a spine as elastic and as totally absorbing as Beefheart...exhilarating, funny, somehow very vital music.
John Orme, Melody Maker, 9/8/79
They don't ask to be loved, but they do invite it. Whichever, they are open to instant embrace or rejection. Their music doesn't float on calm waters: it submerges, spurts, takes rapids, often half-drowns on its back...Having fallen in a big way for the last Ubu album, I approached "New Picnic Time" with much suspicion... Ubu have developed a wider maturity in scope, feeling and atmosphere, and I can only praise them for it. Don't forget to laugh.
Scott Laurence, Herald-American, 7/5/99
Weird. Weird and wonderful. Weird, wonderful and so far beyond the expected that these deconstructions of popular music are as charmingly retro as the Beatles and as modern as today's blendings of funk, hip-hop and alt-rock. Revolutionary and demented yet full of fun, Pere Ubu are indispensible to any collection of 20th century rock.