(3 / 5)
A bumper five disc, 89 track box set from this unique band from Watford – Rickmansworth to be precise – formed back in 1980, offering their distinctive and haunting, atmospheric, melodic and evocative brand of music which delicately straddled post-punk, synth pop, psychedelia and indie.
Compiled, designed and curated by the band, this set is the first comprehensive anthology of the band’s recordings. The original line-up included vocalist Garçe (Simon) Allard, guitarist Tristan Garel-Funk, bassist Cliff Silver, drummer Nigel Pollard and keyboardist/saxophonist David Wood. The band had the unfortunate abbreviation of SLAG.
After singles on their own Last Movement label, they signed to Midnight Music, issuing two albums, “Epic Garden Music” in 1982 and “Feeding The Flame” in ’83, before splitting. This period also witnessed a John Peel session, and a live concert for Dutch Radio Hilversum subsequently issued as “Total Sound” in 1986. All of those recordings appear here.
Sad Lovers & Giants returned with a new line-up in 1987, still fronted by ever- present vocalist Garce (Simon) Allard. New albums followed; “The Mirror Test” (1987), “Headland” (1990) and “Treehouse Poetry” (1991), as the band found new audiences in the Netherlands, Spain and France.
When their record label Midnight Music dissolved, so too did the band. But Sad Lovers & Giants reunited in the noughties, playing to loyal fans and recording a new album, Melting In The Fullness Of Time”.
Since then, the band has stayed active, culminating in a short tour of North America in spring 2016, during which they were invited to showcase at the prestigious SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. In 2014, frontman Allard published an autobiography of the band, ‘Things We Never Did – The Story of Sad Lovers & Giants’.
This five CD set spans the band’s entire career, with every recording of note, sleeve-notes by Garce and design by ex-member Simon Blanchard. Disc one delivers their singles, the second and third disc gives us the first and second line-ups respectively, the fourth CD is the second line-up Part Two d the final disc is titled “The Foundlings”.
There are four tracks from the John Peel Sessions here, on the last disc; “Sex Without Gravity”, “There Was No Time”, “Clint” and “Alice Isn’t Playing”. The single “Things We Never Did,” included on disc one, closes the final CD with the 2016 remix.
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’