Starting the week off with a perennial favorite, Strangelove – in their first session for John Peel, recorded on June 30, 1992 and first broadcast on July 17, 1992.
Characterized as one of the most underrated and overlooked bands of the 90s, Strangelove had a run from 1991 to 1998, released three albums and issued some 16 singles. Fronted by singer Patrick Duff, whose voice has been compared to Morrissey as coached by Scott Walker, is probably one of the most dramatic and intense artists of the past 20 years. The sheer dynamic presence of his voice made listening to Strangelove a profound experience. But it wasn’t for an audience who could take or leave their music – or worse, show indifference. Strangelove were a band who demanded attention – and in exchange, took their audience on a emotionally hyper-charged journey. You either willingly took the journey or you avoided it.
And that may have been a problem for them – at least during this time when Brit-pop was meaningful but upbeat – Strangelove tore a song out by its roots, leaving the audience stunned and emotionally drained.
And there was also the problem with drugs and alcohol, which became Patrick Duff’s own personal set of demons and brought about the eventual dissolution of the band in 1998.
But the session tonight is their first for Peel, who heard them open the Sunday set at Glastonbury in 1993 and booked them for a session on Radio 1 shortly after. It would be the first of only two sessions for Peel; one in 1992 and the second in 1993. The band did a session for French Radio in 1994 and I hope to present that one, hopefully later on this week.
Sadly, Strangelove never took off in the U.S., in fact they were barely noticed here. Baffling, but an all-too-familiar story. They have gone on to achieve legend status in recent years and are being rediscovered by a whole new audience in the process.
If you haven’t heard of them, crank this one up and dive into it. It’s intense, but well worth the ride.