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.   



  1. Weirdly, I was just investigating these lot last week. Nice bit of synchronisation! The first album isn't too bad, "Sunday Morning" in particular is great, but it sounds like they had lost their way by this point.

  2. "Sunday Morning " is actually on the second album although the first one has only 6 tracks (see post 49). What prompted your investigation ?

  3. I was listening to another obscure 80s band (The Silencers) on Spotify, and the Bolshoi came up as a "if you like these, try..." type thing. A lot of the time, they sound like the Mission fronted by Stephen Duffy.

  4. OK, I don't have any Silencers stuff but I did tape a great track off Simon Bates in summer 1980 , missed who the artist was and didn't find out until 30 years later in a pop quiz. It was the original "Bullet Proof Heart" by their earlier incarnation as Fingerprintz.
    I think Duffy's a better singer than Tanner but not a bad comparison.

  5. Oh, I agree Duffy has the better pipes - The Lilac Time were always underrated.

    As for the Silencers - I've only heard bits, but both 'Painted Moon' (the original version, not the dodgy 'Blues' mix) and 'I Can Feel It' are great if you can dig the Neil Finn/Grant McLennan school of songwriting.