SAD LOVERS & GIANTS/Box set reviewed!

     If you are familiar  with veteran UK band Sad Lovers &  Giants, then I am confident that you are already a fan. For those who have  yet to experience SL&G, then pay close attention – they are soon to become your  favorite new/old band. On May 5, 2017, the always-amazing Cherry Red label will be releasing WHERE THE LIGHT SHINES THROUGH: THE  BIGGER PICTURE 1981-2017, a five CD set that is a must-have if you are  a fan of SL&G and ‘80s Post-Punk and New Wave music in general. The band’s  legacy is celebrated in this set which contains pretty much all the tracks from their  albums EPIC GARDEN MUSIC (1982), FEEDING THE FLAME (1983), THE  MIRROR TEST (1987), HEADLAND (1990), TREEHOUSE POETRY (1991) and MELTING IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME  (2002) plus singles, EP tracks, radio sessions and  rarities. A  stunning set to say the least.

     For those of us  who have followed SL&G on their long journey – 37 years and counting! – this expansive  overview of their career is long overdue. Not a band to easily place into one  particular genre, SL&G has created their own musical tapestry that incorporates  Post-Punk, New Wave, Art Rock, Goth, Pop, Rock and Experimental Rock into one  cohesive but ever-evolving audio template. SL&G is not a band that plays music  to just listen to – you ‘experience’ every haunting, melodic note that floats  out of the speakers and wraps around your senses. Their atmospheric and  slightly cold sound is never bleak or without hope. They swim in darkness but  there are beautiful moments that shine down and light your way to the surface.  Some people focus on the band’s darker side – however, they often cast more  shade than shadow. This is the music that you long for when you are caught  somewhere between sleep and reality. It is sad and fabulous. If ‘sadulous’ was  a word, then these chaps would own the copyright.  And sadly, they’ve been overlooked by the masses. Isn’t that always the way? However, those that follow them absolutely adore them.  I’ve never met a SL&G fan that wasn’t 100% passionate about the band…

      Fronted by vocalist Garce (Simon Allard), SL&G may not have been prolific  but they sure made their releases count.  I suppose that splitting up and getting back  together several times may explain some of that. Though Garce was the only  constant member through various incarnations of the band, he always seemed to  surround himself with like-minded musicians who understood the music but were  not afraid to add something new to the mix. Their sound evolved over time but  they still occupied the same musical universe, often looking back while moving  forward – and looking forward by adding new colors to their audio landscapes. Their  later recordings were more lush than their earlier releases but that doesn’t  mean that and earlier track “Imagination” is any less beautiful than later gems  like “Toy Planes (In A Southern Sky)”.
      And how can you not love a band that  featured (in their early years) a guitarist named Tristan Garel-Funk (later of  The Snake Corps)? Classic name, great guitarist.

     So, how would I describe their sound?  Imagine this: FAITH-era Cure recording for Factory Records  (with Martin Hannett producing), A Flock Of Seagulls’ Paul Reynolds  adding some echo-laden swashes of guitar, a touch of Japan’s romanticism and New  Order’s Bernard Sumner quietly strumming  along in the background. Take all of that and layer it with atmospheric  keyboards that are felt even before they are heard.  While this seems like a pretty good  description of their earlier recordings, it still doesn’t do the band  justice.  Especially since Garce doesn’t  whine like Robert Smith (The Cure). However, if that sounds  intriguing, then perhaps it is time to experience Sad Lovers & Giants for  the first time. Or the second. Or the 100th.  While some of the recordings may sound dated,  the SL&G experience is a timeless one.

March on down to your local shop and order this today! It is  never too late to make them superstars, you know.
Keep on truckin’,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee