Release code: ODI173683
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Release Info: THE BAND OF HOLY JOY - Manic, Magic, Majestic
LP / CD Rough Trade Records 1989 "The rough-and-tumble British acoustic unit Band of Holy Joy formed in the New Cross area of London in 1984. Led by singer Johny Brown, the group - which also included trombonist Adrian Bailey, drummer Bill Lewington, keyboardist/banjoist Big John, violinist Karel Van Bergen, accordionist Alf Thomas and double-bassist Mark Cavener - created a uniquely English urban folk sound, free of guitars, which brought frequent comparisions to their Irish counterparts the Pogues; while steeped in the grit and grime of London street life, Brown's songs were uplifting and optimistic, a call-to-arms against the oppressions of Thatcherism. Upon signing to the small indie label Flim Flam, the Band of Holy Joy debuted in 1986 with the EP The Big Ship Sails, followed in 1987 by the full-length More Tales From the City. The group signed to Rough Trade for 1988's Tactless single; the next year's Manic, Magic, Majestic won widespread critical acclaim, but the commercial breakthrough projected for 1990's Positively Spooked - an LP backed by a promotional tour of the U.S.S.R. - never materialized". (Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide) "The second album by the the Band of Holy Joy saw the band move from Flim Flam to major U.K. independent label Rough Trade. Main music writer Max left the band, leaving much of the composing to Big John. The emotions still swirled and swooned as on their previous album More Tales From the City, but the music and production is smoother and more accomplished. Undoubtedly the highlight is What the Moon Saw where soaring violins crescendo as the starstruck lover's world comes crashing down. Although filled with melancholy and desperation - Baubles, Bangles, Emotional Tangles relates the story of becoming pregnant but not by the one she loves - the Holy Joy also describe the feeling of rapture, whether that's making a new start with a loved one, Bride, or the title track Manic, Magic, Majestic, where possessions take second place to the happy-go-lucky charm of the heroine. On releasing the single Tactless, the video filmed the band performing in an out-of-season seaside resort, which sums up this album very nicely". (Christian Smillie, All-Music Guide) ENJOY