Thursday, 1 August 2013
110 Lindy's Party - The Bolshoi
Purchased : October 21 1988
Tracks : Auntie Jean / Please / Crack In Smile / Swings And Roundabouts / She Don't Know / T V Man / Can You Believe It / Rainy Day / Barrowlands / Lindy's Party
This was purchased the following week from Soundsearch for £4.00. Finding it in the racks took me by surprise as I didn't know it existed. It had been released a year earlier but not reviewed in either Record Mirror or Smash Hits so it passed me by.
The Bolshoi's third LP begins unpromisingly with "Auntie Jean" which rumbles on tunelessly for nearly five minutes, Trevor Tanner spinning a vague tale of missed romantic opportunity with his usual affected vocal over Jan Kalicki's drum clatter. The second verse has the line "Do you know what I mean, do you know what I am saying ?" and the answer is not really. The last minute with Tanner howling "Hee hee hee hee" sets the teeth on edge.
"Please" was a hopeless single, the Fairlight strings failing to mask the lack of chorus or any melodic hookline. Tanner sneers away in the guise of a whingeing loser -"Don't send me back to the cheap seats" and despite a purposeful bassline it's an unpleasant listen.
"Crack In Smile" is a more sympathetic tale of dreams unlikely to be fulfilled with Paul Clark adding a Billy Currie-esque melodic piano line to sweeten the pill. It's a tad too long and over-wordy in the chorus but a big improvement on what's gone before.
"Swings And Roundabouts" is a jauntily strummed number about small town hanging round with some neat wailing guitar from Tanner but it's difficult to get past the hero / beer-o rhyme in the second verse. Then he pulls the same trick as in the first track by singing "Ha ha ha" over the closing bars.
Then they finally get it right with "She Don't Know" a superb Goth pop song with a great guitar riff and haunting keyboards. It's a plaintive tale of female innocence worthy of Martin Gore and Tanner for once has the discipline to stay within the tight melodic structure. If they'd picked it as a single it might just have cracked the charts for them.
Side Two opens with the one track I'd heard before courtesy of a play on The Chart Show when released as a single. "TV Man" wasn't the worst possible choice with a light pop rhythm and reasonably catchy chorus. Tanner's lyrics capture the ennui of the skint daytime TV watcher well enough but it didn't get the airplay to make it a hit.
"Can You Believe It" is a sharply-observed tale of a bedroom nerd with delusions of grandeur - "He held a meeting but nobody came". The middle eight is unusual with a needling violin solo giving way to stadium noise and Tanner's double-tracked vocal on the chorus makes it sound like early Squeeze. It's interesting but melodically unattractive.
"Rainy Day" doesn't quite live up to its lovely guitar intro but it's an acceptable pensive strumalong about melancholic inertia let down by some hamfisted lyrics.
"Barrowlands" is a departure, a hammy but engaging attempt to conjure the sinister spirit of their native south west with Tanner accompanied by just Clark's minimalist keyboard and corny Hammer Horror sound effects. The slow tempo does expose Tanner's vocal shortcomings.
The closing title track is apparently regarded as something of a classic on the Goth scene and has appeared on the odd compilation in subsequent years. It's certainly one of their more intriguing songs, a Where do You Go To My Lovely - style address to some girl who's moved away and made good with mysterious references such as "We talk about Doharty". I don't know of any famous Dohartys so that one's lost on me. Much of the song is very sparse and subdued with minimal guitar, muted trumpet ,drum machine and a restrained vocal from Tanner conjuring an odd mood of damp distraction. As effectively the curtain closer on their career it's an intriguing way to go out.
This is the best of their three LPs but it didn't sell. They did apparently finish recording a fourth but Beggar's Banquet have never released it and the band broke up in 1988. Tanner and Clark separately re-located to the USA and still make music but neither have managed to achieve even the limited success of their old group.