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Leaves That Fall In Spring...

The Band Of Holy Joy

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Album Review

The first career-spanning compilation for one of the U.K.'s most unique pop bands of the 1980s, Leaves That Fall in Spring shows off the Band of Holy Joy in all their peculiar glory. Although the guitar-free band's songs are rooted in British folk music idioms, the Band of Holy Joy never sounded much like, say, Billy Bragg. Closer comparisons include Eyeless in Gaza (singer/songwriter Johnny Brown has a similarly pitch-poor but emotionally expressive voice as that duo's Martyn Bates, and synthesizers were a main element of that band's overall sound) and Prefab Sprout, and in the combination of horns and accordion that decorate the otherwise electronic keyboard-based arrangements, the Pogues. One wouldn't expect the combination of gloomy post-punk, alternately delicate and raucous folk, and sophisticated pop arrangements to work, and to be fair, it quite often didn't. But at 16 songs covering two decades, Leaves That Fall in Spring neatly encapsulates all of the group's most enduring work, ranging from the chaotic shambles of debut single "Rosemary Smith" to considerably smoother and more accessible tunes like the 1993 single "It's Lovebite City." Only the most devoted will need venture far beyond this compilation, but Leaves That Fall in Spring performs an essential function in collecting such a solid précis of this underrated band.

Biography

Formed: 1984

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

The rough-and-tumble British acoustic unit Band of Holy Joy formed in the New Cross area of London in 1984. Led by singer Johny Brown, the group — which also included trombonist Adrian Bailey, drummer Bill Lewington, keyboardist/banjoist Big John, violinist Karel Van Bergen, accordionist Alf Thomas, and double bassist Mark Cavener — created a uniquely English urban folk sound, free of guitars, which brought frequent comparisons to their Irish counterparts the Pogues;...
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Leaves That Fall In Spring..., The Band Of Holy Joy
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