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  • David Bentley

The Bizarre Orkeztra (Sweden) – 'Midnight Show' (track from album Hunger for Pleasures)

I was attracted to this band by their name, just as I once was to the Portsmouth Sinfonia but the less said about them the better.

This album, ‘Hunger for Pleasures’, is one of several being reissued, remastered, by the Swedish label Comedia this year. It dates back to 1988. In the early 1980s, The Bizarre Orkeztra rose from the ashes of the cult punk rock band PF Commando and the avant-garde post-punk band Modaern Art and was one of the early Goth bands in Sweden, releasing three albums and several singles before disbanding in the late '80s.

At their height of fame this track, ‘Midnight Show’ was a cult hit on rock radio stations in New York City and they’ve made waves in countries as disparate as Belgium and Brazil as ‘post punk/goth pioneers.’ At least one of the band members, Richard Solstierna, is still active in the business, with the Berlin-based EvOLu.

The PR for them insists “the band has the label "goth" through its dark soundscape, alarmist attack and cathedral-like height in the sounds.”

I can vouch that is generally true for the album as a whole but this track is different. If it wasn’t for the fact that this sounds quite ridiculous I’d venture that it has shades of the UK’s new wave and even new romantic scenes rather than anything that passes for ‘goth.’ I’ll say it anyway. It could be the child of a liaison between Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet (which did start life as a post-punk band).

Anyway, see what you think. For my part it’s great to encounter previously unheard 1980s music, the decade which I reckon overall to have been the most creative musically in my lifetime.

The entire album’s well worth a listen.

‘Hunger for Pleasures was recorded at Studio Loftet, Sjömanskyrkan / Gävle, Sweden in 1988.

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