Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The March Violets - Deep 12" (1985)

Deep 12"
1985 Rebirth VRB2612
Simon Denbigh (v), Cleo Murray (v), Tom Ashton(g) ,Laurence Elliot (b), Dr. Rhythm (d)

Track Listing

A1. "Deep"
B1. "Eldorado"
B2. "Electric Shades"


"Deep" (Deeper Mix)

The March Violets are an English goth rock band of the 1980s, incorporating singers of both sexes, drum machine rhythms and echo laden electric guitar, much in the way of scene mates The Sisters of Mercy, who also originated from the city of Leeds. Seven March Violets' singles have made it into the UK Indie Chart; Natural History LP also was an indie hit (#3, 1984).


The original band members met while at Leeds University in 1981. Tom Ashton and Laurence "Loz" Elliot played lead and bass guitar, while vocals were handled by both Simon "Detroit" Denbigh and Rosie Garland. Percussion was provided by a drum machine, a feature that a number of bands in the burgeoning Leeds scene had in common. Fellow student Andrew Eldritch, lead singer of The Sisters of Mercy, released the bands first single on his Merciful Release label in 1982. The "Religious As Hell" single consisted of four tracks that reflected strong punk and garage rock influences in the guitar work, along with contrasting vocals from the two singers. Denbigh's male vocals varied from being essentially spoken to a harsh yelling, whereas Garland's were high pitched and almost operatic. The band garnered positive reviews for this first release, which was soon followed in 1983 by a second single for Merciful Release. "Grooving In Green" featured a more confident sounding production, aided by a more powerful sounding drum machine, and received more positive reaction from the UK national music press.

At this point, the band appeared to fall out of favour with Andrew Eldritch, and they established their own Rebirth record label to handle future releases. The "Crow Baby" single shortly followed, and repeated the pattern of good reviews and a good showing in the UK independent record chart. The title track of the next single, "Snake Dance", was arguably the band's creative high point. Additional female vocals were provided by Cleo Murray, and for the two final independent releases, "Walk Into The Sun" and "Deep", Rosie was no longer a part of the band. The bands sound was also changing towards a more pop-oriented sound, and Simon Denbigh was pushed out of the band before going on to form The Batfish Boys.

An increasingly commercial sounding March Violets began to receive negative reviews from the music press. The accusations of selling out worsened as the band signed to major label London Records, which also saw them add drummer Andy Tolson to the line up. The subsequent "Turn To The Sky" single was released through London Records, although still bearing the Rebirth imprint. Reviews were disparaging, and despite featuring on the soundtrack to the film Some Kind of Wonderful, the band failed to find a new audience and broke up in 1987.

Following the split, Tom Ashton went on to perform with Hard Rain and long running goth band Clan of Xymox, while Cleo Murray briefly fronted the Lovecraft in the early 1990s.

Rosie Garland went on to become an acclaimed poet and cabaret performer, performing under the name Rosie Lugosi. She then became the victim of a stalker, with the court case being lead article in the Manchester Evening News.


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