‘Silhouettes and Statues: A Gothic Revolution 1979-1986’ reviewed

❉ A journey through the shadowy underside of the UK’s post-punk alternative culture…

Cherry Red are soon to release an extensive 5CD/48-page book set exploring the evolution of the Goth movement, entitled ‘Silhouettes and Statues’ A Gothic Revolution 1979-1986.

The anthology explores the uber-cool post-punk of the late 1970s, through to darker punk rock and into the alternative scene of the 1980s Batcave era, where dark electronica and subversive songs ruled my day.

The combo format contains many previously unseen footage including artists’ own sleeve notes and photographs and features over eighty classic goth classics, rarities, album tracks and hidden gems from such a diverse range of gothic luminaries as The Cure, Joy Division, Sisters Of Mercy, The Birthday Party, Adam And The Ants, The Mission, Southern Death Cult, Fields Of The Nephilim, All About Eve, Alien Sex Fiend, Bauhaus, and Nico amongst a plethora of like-minded artists of the genre. Back then, they forged my way into a different musical genre away from the saccharine sweetness of the then current chart darlings.

The 5-disc set in its entirety takes the listener on an intense journey through the shadowy underside of the UK’s post-punk alternative culture. For me, tracks from The Mission, Danielle Dax and Balaam and the Angel, took me straight back to those heady days of the eighties and memories of zombie-like dancing with like-minded souls in Mancunian basement clubs such as The Banshee and The Asylum.

Balaam and the Angel.

It was a time when a dark and brutal sensibility crept into the UK’s post-punk wasteland, reflecting the political, social and spiritual situation of that highly charged and for me, a definitive point in time. The disco pop music which had dulled the charts for decades were at last unleashed as the anger, the frustration, the self-loathing and the disenchantment flowed, and no more so than in my own teenage bedroom where I relished in solitary soul-searching with a sultry soundtrack of gothic delights.

The overall instrumentation, lyrical content, imagery and attitudes varied wildly between the bands included here in this collection, however a Gothic sensibility remains dominant. It perfectly reprogrammes the boundaries of musical and lyrical expression, leaving a legacy of black hearts deep within many now middle-aged “forever goths” dark souls, who will wallow deep in this collection of perfectly dark nostalgia of headier times.

❉ ‘Silhouettes and Statues: A Gothic Revolution 1979-1986’ will be released on Cherry Red Records on 30 June.

❉ Ange Chan is a poet and novelist. Her fourth poetry collection “Fame; What’s Your Name?” and her second novel “Baby, Can You Hear Me?” were both published in paperback and Kindle in 2016. Her third novel will be published in 2017.

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