A few weeks ago I wrote a list of the most under rated British bands of the 90s as nominated by some charming musicians, bloggers and chancers that I hang about with on social media sites. It got huge traffic, so, not wishing to change a winning formula, I asked the same group to come up with the most under rated bands of the 80s, and here’s the list.
Obviously the key here is defining the phrase ‘under rated’. There are some 80s bands; Felt, The Soft Boys and Gang Of Four spring to mind, who didn’t trouble the charts a great deal in their prime but thanks to being championed by more recent bands are now heralded as makers of some of the finest music of that decade. So we didn’t include them. I also added a few bands who were huge at the time, but these days never seem to be played on the radio or mentioned at all.
In a totally serendipitous way as I was putting the list together Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music decided to make the first two weeks of the year ‘lost 80s bands’ week, playing some completely forgotten tunes like Westworld’s Sonic Boom Boy. So Steve, how about playing a few of these?
Thanks then to everyone who added their twopennyworth.
And can someone please release the lost album recorded by the number one band. Ta. Any we have missed in the comments please. If you do your own list shout and I’ll post a link here too.
There’s a selection of tracks on the Spotify play list below
12 Bad Dream Fancy Dress
In the late 80s El Records' Mike Alway took a couple of young likely lasses from Southend, pitched them up with The King of Luxembourg and let them fly. The result, Bad Dream Fancy Dress's Choirboys Gas, is one of the few truly unique albums in pop history. The whole concept can be condensed down to the opener, The Supremes, where over a Motown-esque beat the girls share their dreams of fame and fortune before descending into a barrage of caterwauling and screaming. On this form they wouldn’t even have even got to sing a second line in an X-factor audition. Even more astonishing is title track Choirboys Gas, a kind of mini psych pop opera complete with sitars, drastic chord and tempo changes, more off beat notes and lyrics that’s laden with more innuendo than a Carry On DVD boxed set And there’s Leigh on Sea (Y-Fronts and Antique shops), quite possibly the only ever paen to an Essex seaside town which is sugary sweet enough to make you want to decamp there for good. Best of all is the album’s bonafide pop classic, Curry Crazy, where over a belting guitar riff and Bontempi style organs our classy Essex chicks screech ‘we don’t want boys we want some spicy stuff!’ Forget death metal and banging techno, if you ever want to clear a room this is the album to play. Yet you can guarantee that there will always be one smart person in the room who’ll salute it as a work of unbridled genius. ‘One day, gentleman, they will be old bags,’ goes the visionary sleeve notes. ‘But not yet. For now the Bad Dream Fancy Dress girls are in their prime, raucous and high-pitched. How can they fail with Saturday night and Nestlé’s condensed milk?’ Indeed. You can hear quite how brilliant they were on Spotify.