Am I Deaf Yet? Strangelove

April 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

There was a Bristol band called Strangelove that existed for a brief number of years from the early to mid-90s. They released three albums, and broke up. I’m not sure about their popularity in their home country, though, I suspect amongst the leagues of Britpop contemporaries, they weren’t that well-known. In Canada anyway, they appeared to have not existed. I’m still missing hard copies of their albums, just a single or two. When I was 17 I found their final album on ebay, won the auction, sent the money and never received the CD. Strangelove are elusive to me.

The band consisted of various members from the Bristol scene, and like many players from the city, some were at some point or another in The Blue Aeroplanes. As an aside, the rotating membership of The Blue Aeroplanes is nothing but remarkable, and Wikipedia has a chart. Alex Lee, for example, Strangelove’s guitarist has played with The Blue Aeroplanes, Suede, Placebo and so forth. Patrick Duff, the singer, perhaps is what pulled me into the band’s music. He was a skinny, wild-eyed man with girly hair, wore polyester shirts and striped trousers that were too short and had a voice that belonged in a completely different person. His voice was soulful and psychotic. Lyrically, I wouldn’t say Duff wrote poetry, but certainly better than the standard fare of pop and rock songs–captivating and thoughtful, I’d say.

In his autobiography, Dean Wareham of Galaxie 500 recalled a show shared with Strangelove, and he described Duff as being a drunk (which I’m sure Duff himself would concede to) and generally rowdy and all over the place. Wareham writes this section with some degree of distaste. Then again, the music of Galaxie 500 as somewhat reserved rock songs with a sophisticated arty style and jazz drums is a far cry from Strangelove’s own, a raw concoction of hysteria.

These days, Duff is still making music as a solo endeavour. In 2005, he released Luxury Problems, an excellent album, that combines some bizarre stylings with something of a calmed down mature vocal rendition. “Fucked”, for example, makes a beautiful ballad that is wryly contrasted with the title itself. I have never heard someone say “how fucked we are” with such gentleness. “Married With Kids” was another single, with clever and hilarious lyrics. And even more recently, Duff is back to his wild-eyed look, if you direct yourself to his myspace page, you’ll see him staring through your soul, having just released The Mad Straight Road, which I’ve not heard as a whole yet, but seems to carry on with more acoustic flavour.

Anyway, I’m still looking for Strangelove paraphernalia. Some people posted a few of their videos, of which I’ll share my favourites. And hey Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers was a fan–that’s a good sign.

Off their second EP of the same title

Off the first album, Time For The Rest of Your Life

Off the second album, Love and Other Demons

Off the last self-titled album, not my favourite song, but awesome performance (probably lip-syncing)

-Stay Gold


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