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BAND OF HOLY JOY

Band Of Holy Joy

Fated Beautiful Mistakes

    Early Band Of Holy Joy existed somewhere on the cut-up side of proto-industrial music, resting between Marc Stewart & Maffia, Sonic Youth, and Current 93, and proponents of a more romantic musical language - Virginia Astley, Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins among them - all artists whose work BPHJ's music sat comfortably alongside across on a stream of low-budget vinyl and cassette compilations after the start of the eighties. A great leap in polish led to a deal with Rough Trade and several early '90s albums which flirted with the mainstream, with BOHJ almost an odder, less obvious cousin to Dexys Midnight Runners. When these releases failed to take off as hoped, lost years followed on smaller labels and self-released projects, until the renewed urgency of the 2016 Brutalism Begins At Home EP and increasingly majestic albums on which saw leader Johny Brown's lyricism enter a new phase. The common thread through BOHJ's four decades of recordings is the foundational warmth and humanity of Brown's words. The band's earliest recordings seemed garnered from street-level observations of neighbourhood people and sights. By the time of near-hit "Tactless", their songs - whatever the underlying impulses may have been - had become immediate enough to overcome the mystery of a line like "Do you remember the swan that was shot in the park?"

    Over each of their last three albums - Funambulist We Love You, Neon Primitives and Dreams Take Flight - BOHJ has bettered itself, and may now have reached their apex, Fated Beautiful Mistakes. We live in a time of generally justifiable gloom and awkward uncertainty. So it may appear cavalier to claim this album sounds revelatory in that context, but Band Of Holy Joy's strengths rest largely in Johny Brown and the band's ability to capture a wider societal feeling. One listen to the escapist fantasy of "Our Flighty Season Under The Flighty Sun" and its slightly-haunted ending speaks volumes beyond most of what passes for music in 2023, and it's just one of many perfect moments on this album.

    TRACK LISTING

    Lighthouse Keeper
    New York Romantic
    A Citadel Of Crooked Soul
    Mersey Ferry On The River Thames
    Our Flighty Season Inn The Dirty Sun
    Circus Folk
    City People
    Instagram Moon
    The Curve Of The Bay
    The Full Bloom Of Roses
    Babylon Farewell

    Band Of Holy Joy

    Dreams Take Flight

      The apotheosis of Band Of Holy Joy's bile toward today's pathetic state of affairs will be released shortly – a blistering remix of "The Devil Has A Hold On The Land" from their last album, Neon Primitives. Remixed by Youth (Killing Joke bassist, Paul McCartney collaborator, producer of Melanie C and U2!), who was so taken by the song as to remix it gratis, the remix will be part of a series of 23 discrete 7" 45s by Jon Langford of The Mekons and an assortment fellow travellers from around the globe. Dreams Take Flight transitions from political discourse into a post-virus rebirth of human relationship and the inevitable fumblings of the society's psychological reconstruction over the forthcoming year. Have you ever wondered what purpose your joy or my pain? All those moments shared together to be washed away by the rain . . . Have you ever doubted our super hipster being love-in at all? Just a pair of urbane fools passing through waiting for our call . . . Take a leap into the great unknown. Almost perversely heart-on-sleeve, Johny Brown and compatriots have never fitted well within a particular scene - nor have they ever seem to try.

      Although recorded under the existence of quarantine and a healthy amount of paranoia, in search of the joy of greatly hindered collaboration, the band has opted to turn over each song to a different visionary video artist for an exhibition which will take place for a week at London's Gallery 46 beginning at the end of February and open to the public. The video exhibition will subsequently be available online, before the album's release. While still featuring some of the band's strongest songs, Dreams Take Flight has a strange film-like ambience in parts, almost as if planned as a soundtrack, a thought mirrored in Inga Tillere's sublime, dream-like sleeve, best seen in real life. "A Leap Into The Great Unknown" and "Notes From A Gallery" will likely be heard as too disarmingly direct for radio, and the videos will likely never see the entry door to MTV, but Dreams Take Flight will ultimately be considered a masterwork of clarity in a confused, contentious time.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. This Is The Festival Scene 
      2. A Leap Into The Great Unknown 
      3. That Magic Thing 
      4. When Love Is Not Enough 
      5. On Set Romance 
      6. Notes From A Gallery 
      7. The Rhythm Of Life 
      8. A New Clear Vision 


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