Friday, 19 July 2013

Sisters of Mercy - Alice

One of England's leading goth bands of the 1980s, the Sisters of Mercy play a slow, gloomy, ponderous hybrid of metal and psychedelia, often incorporating dance beats; the one constant in the band's career has been deep-voiced singer Andrew Eldritch.
Steve Huey 

Evergreen goth dancefloor killer. " Alice " is the Sister's best known song , also their best executed one.
Alice came out in 1982 not like a HIT but rather like a statement!
The British New Wave movement had then a darker voice ,a deeper depth ,a broader ambition ! 

Sisters of Mercy, along with The Mission, are among the first bands that people think of when the ‘G’ word comes up; this has as a lot to do with their command of goth imagery, which quickly led to them becoming one of the most visible goth “brands” (I can only imagine how much SoM merchandise has been sold over the past thirty years). Though the majority of their recorded output is wretched, in their early years SoM were pretty compelling, combining the primality of metal with the polysexual pulsation of what would come to be known as EBM; their finest creation in this vein was the dark-wave floor-filler ‘Alice’.
Kiran Sande

To fully appreciate The Sisters of Mercy’s impact, it’s important to consider the worth of the single release. In terms of pop culture and in an age of downloads and a la carte music consumption, the worth of the single has plummeted in much the same way the value of sterling has fallen against the dollar. Back in 1982, when 'Body Electric' crawled fully formed from the darkest recesses of Yorkshire, the independent single was as much a communiqué and statement of intent as it was a little object of desire that involuntarily caused your feet and hips – and especially in the case of The Sisters, the elbows - to move. Held within the grooves and the three-to-five minute running time, independent singles were arguably a more self-contained universe that reflected the times, sartorial mores, politics and culture of the time than their major label peers ever could. But The Sisters of Mercy did more than that. In the space of their six independent releases, the band shaped fashion, sound and language in an image entirely of their own making with scant regard for approval from the wider world.

Indeed, it’s with their third single, 'Alice', where The Sisters of Mercy finally hit their stride. Opening with Doktor Avalanche’s idiosyncratic beats – beats that were to become as instantly recognisable as John Bonham’s intro to Led Zeppelin’s 'Rock ’n’ Roll' – the track gives way to beautifully twisting guitars and Adams’ driving, droning and single-minded bass playing. The flipside, 'Floorshow', was every bit the equal of the parent track. Powerful in its simplicity, Eldritch’s attack on the pop values of the day was as damning as it was compelling on the dance floor. In retrospect, their reading of The Stooges’ '1969' is a little to obvious but for a generation still to discover the delights of Iggy Pop, the track served as a gateway to world that was seriously at odds with the prevailing view of the 1960s as being little more than a hotchpotch of paisley, pot and patchouli. 
Julian Marszalek

First heard on a John Peel/BBC radio session in September 1982, "Alice" was released as the Sisters of Mercy's third single two months later. Constructed around the merciless metronome of drum machine Doktor Avalanche and a darkly spiraling guitar line, "Alice" was recorded with the Psychedelic Furs' John Ashton in the producer's chair -- after two self-produced, self-recorded 45s, it emerged the band's most conventional sounding single yet: Melody! Chorus! Intelligible lyrics!

It remains one of their most intriguing releases. The lyrics are a wealth of ambiguities, shot through with knowing references to sex, drugs, and Tarot -- Alice herself is a person who will do whatever is necessary to make reality appear bearable, to "promise her a definition." It remains a firm fan favorite.  
Dave Thompson


Lucy Nation said...

Yes please!!

_Black_Acrylic said...


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