Bristol Archive Records Blog


Bristol Archive Records

This is great, a Goth band finally cropping up in the Bristol Archive menagerie and not a band I had heard before. Luckily Ian Pirrie provides some detailed memories on their page of the discog section. The songs come from the ‘86/’87 period and here we find Matthew Butler – vocals, Ian Pirrie – bass, John Murray – drums and Adrian Bennett – keyboards and then guitar (who went onto Claytown).

They’ve got a brash confidence about their sound, with the boney bass protruding and the vocals in the tiny ‘Intro’ just an instrument by itself, and so it’s in ‘Book of Dreams’ we can really settle down. Solid but lightly handled drums mingle with a busy, pretty guitar, the song clean and bright as the muted vocals skirt the instruments wisely. ‘Twilight’ is another delicately balanced song with some interestingly sprung vocals, but what we’re talking about here is demo quality, it’s just they have a very full sense of what the songs should sound like, and have a good stab at creating that, leaving you with a weird Goth sound from that era, including some truly mangled, wiry guitar. Rockier than most late 80’s small Goth bands, but adhering to a sensitive core spirit.

‘Cabaret of Death’ was apparently a crowd favourite, although it’s hard to get to grips with. A linear, loping thing, with charismatic cross-woven vocals, it’s almost coy about its charms, although still stylishly sleek. ‘In Our Darkness’ has a bobblier drum beat, some scurvy guitar laid low by dominant vocal mess and some lovely bass capering but bearing the title in mind you wouldn’t automatically think Goth when first hearing it. The brusque count-in on the very demoish ‘Jewell’ is funny, as they chomp like an easily dented bit of acoustic glam, which probably hoped to seem a bit rock and rolly. It shuffles off rather cheerfully.

A needle-thin guitar opens the bumptious, slippery ‘Seduction’ and we’re finally into some reptilian Goth; dark vocals draped over some taut, angular shapes, with intermittently frisky passages, agile and thorny. ‘Renewal’ has a nicely peaky flow, guitar on a long, glowing fuse and the vocals ensuring the repetition makes the melody emphatic. ‘Lilith’ manages to concentrate on atmosphere instead, with nagging, torn guitar slivers and sinuous bass intrigue behind vocal drama. ‘Spine’ is a bit of a jangling, schizoid weirdness, heartfelt and pushy, but also crouched in basic form. ‘Temple’ is a curiously active little piece which is gone before you know it and maybe a clue of an artier direction they might have taken, with ‘Book of Dreams’ and ‘Renewal’ popping back up for further breath, astutely stark and noble.

Fascinating little record and a real find.

Review taken from the rather brilliant 

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