Friday, May 8, 2009

The Bolshoi

Jan Kalicki | Trevor Tanner | Paul Clark | Nick Chown

The Bolshoi formed in Leeds, England in 1983. Founding members Trevor Tanner (guitar/vocals) and Jan Kalicki (drums) soon recruited Nick Chown (bass) and by 1984 they found themselves opening for such acts as The Cult, Lords Of The New Church and Wall Of Voodoo. On the merits of these performances and the success of their first independently released single, "Sob Story", they were soon signed to I.R.S. Records.

The Bolshoi - Sunday Morning

Their debut IRS release was the EP Giants in early 1986, which included the song "Happy Boy". Critics responded positively to The Bolshoi, saying, "Strong on broody melodies, driven along by forceful rhythms and crashing splinters of trebly guitar, all showing enough fire and ambition to crash through the dark undergrowth of the post-punk jungle... admirable stuff." And, "The Bolshoi have vision and lyrical flair - a refreshing alternative to some of the rancid pap that currently clogs up the charts." That appeal they had with critics, unfortuantley did not translate to the music-buying public. Bands such as The Bolshoi that were trying to fill the gap between the fading "Punk/New Wave" culture and the rising "Grunge" movement were hard pressed to find an audience.
Later in 1986 the trio expanded into a quartet adding Paul Clark on keyboards and recording their first full-length LP, Friends. The lead tune, "A Way" became a critical success and even managed some chart action. The accompanying video was also put in heavy rotation on MTV's 120 Minutes. Trevor Tanner's mesmerising stage presence combined with his superior writing skills revealed a dark and pensive tone in his compositions, touching on subjects most would otherwise choose not to explore. They succeeded in doing this by mixing dark subjects with moderately amusing melodies, memorable choruses and a clearly danceable beat.
Despite critical success in the music press, the MTV exposure and the minor success of "A Way" sales of the LP were lacklustre and IRS let The Bolshoi go. A year later they put out their final album (on RCA), Lindy's Party. Soon after the band split up. Trevor Tanner continues to have the occaisional independent project, but The Bolshoi are now part of post-punk music history, a bright spot in the otherwise vapid "Goth" movement of the late 1980s.

IRS 5814(Released 1986)

Produced & Engineered by Mick Glossop for the Smoothside Organisation
Assisted by Noel Harris, Richard Whaley and Damien Askeo-Brown
Recorded at Townhouse Three
Mixed at The Good Earth (cuts 1 & 7 Mixed at The Garden Master Rock)
Sleeve by The Cream Group
Photos by Alan King, Royston
Mastered by Frank DeLuna at A&M, Los Angeles

Trevor Tanner Vocals & Guitar
Nick Chown Bass
Paul Clark Keyboards
Jan Kalicki Drums
Track Listing:
  1. A Way (Tanner/Bolshoi) 4:53
  2. Modern Man (Tanner/Bolshoi) 5:34
  3. Someone's Daughter (Tanner/Bolshoi) 4:01
  4. Sunday Morning (Tanner/Bolshoi) 6:33
  5. Looking For A Life To Lose (Tanner/Bolshoi) 4:42
  6. Romeo In Clover (Call Girl) (Tanner/Bolshoi) 5:38
  7. Books On The Bonfire (Tanner/Bolshoi) 4:56
  8. Pardon Me (Tanner/Bolshoi) 4:37
  9. Fat And Jealous (Tanner/Bolshoi) 4:10
  10. Waspy (Tanner/Bolshoi) 4:10


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