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Album Review

Though the June Brides are usually pegged as one of the C-86 bands that permeated the U.K. indie underground in the mid- to late '80s, they actually predated that scene by a few years. In reality, the June Brides, like the Pale Fountains and the Blue Aeroplanes, were a bridge between earlier post-punk acts like Josef K or the Television Personalities and the C-86 bands; they also favored a more polished sound than the bands that came before or after, with an expanded lineup that featured both a trumpeter and a viola player. The comprehensive double-disc anthology Every Conversation: The Story of the June Brides and Phil Wilson, contains 41 tracks (including an entire disc's worth of BBC sessions) that comprehensively cover both the 1983-1986 tenure of the June Brides, including all of their singles and their sole album, 1985's There Are Eight Million Stories, as well as the handful of solo singles singer/songwriter Phil Wilson recorded for Creation Records in that influential label's early days. Though the June Brides lacked that one classic single that summed them up in three minutes or less (though both the title track and their first outing, 1984's "In the Rain," come very close), the material here is unfailingly solid. Wilson's yearning, boyish (and occasionally pitch-poor) vocals were strongly reminiscent of Josef K's Paul Haig, a connection that the jangly minor-key shuffle "Josef's Gone" seems to nod to, and the band's blend of the third Velvet Underground album's moody charms and the wide-eyed winsomeness of the nascent twee pop aesthetic proved hugely influential to the generation of D.I.Y. bands that followed. Best of all, the June Brides didn't last long enough to attempt any misbegotten stylistic makeovers: even Wilson's solo singles stay close to the shimmering guitar pop template of his former band, so much so that one has to look at the liner notes to see which songs are credited to whom.


Formed: 1983 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s

British indie pop cult favorites the June Brides were led by singer/guitarist Phil Wilson and guitarist Simon Beesley, London School of Economics classmates who first bonded over their mutual affection for punk. Formed on a lark for entry into a collegiate talent show, the original lineup (dubbed International Rescue) was completed by vocalist Jez Waller, bassist Andy (George) Johnston, and drummer Chris Nineham; after one rehearsal the group made their live debut, winning the battle of the bands...
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Every Conversation: The Story of the June Brides & Phil Wilson, The June Brides
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