The Brilliant Corners - rings no bells?

The Brilliant Corners - rings no bells?
The Brilliant Corners – rings no bells?

The Brilliant Corners – In Session – John Peel – August 21, 1984 – BBC Radio 1

I’ll admit, I was hard-pressed to remember who The Brilliant Corners were. Aside from taking their name from a classic Thelonius Monk album, they were an early example of Indie Pop in Britain. coming from Bristol in the 1980s. They released over 10 singles between their start in 1984 and their breakup in 1990, and released some 8 albums during that time as well.

The group was formed in 1983, taking the name from the Thelonious Monk jazz album, Brilliant Corners. The line-up included Davey Woodward (b. Avonmouth, Bristol, England; vocals, guitar), Chris Galvin (1959 – 22 December 1998; bass guitar), Winston Forbes (lead guitar, percussion, backing vocals), Bob Morris (drums) and Dan Pacini (occasional trumpet and keyboards). A later addition was Phil Elvins on guitar.

The band’s first releases were early examples of indie pop, with three singles being released in 1984 on their own SS20 label. Their first (mini-)album, Growing Up Absurd, appeared the following year. With an explosion of indie pop groups in 1986, their May release Fruit Machine EP gained them both attention and radio airplay, followed by a second mini-album, What’s In A Word. “Brian Rix”, a re-recorded version of a track from the LP, with added trumpet, and a tribute to Rix, the “king of farce”, was issued as a single, the proceeds going to Mencap, the charity of which Rix was chairman. The video, featuring Woodward running Rix-like around a couch with his trousers around his ankles, was shown on The Tube, further raising the band’s profile.

In March 1988, the band set up another label, McQueen, and released third album, Somebody Up There Likes Me, followed by a collection of their sought-after early singles, Everything I Ever Wanted. Two more albums followed in 1989 (Joy Ride) and 1990 (Hooked), followed by a second compilation, Creamy Stuff, in 1991. They released A History Of White Trash in 1993 before splitting up.

And though they were reasonably well-known in the UK, they made very little, if any dent in the U.S. where Indie-Pop wasn’t heard of yet and the market was saturated with remnants of Punk.

Tonight it’s a session recorded for the BBC in August of 1984, around the time of the release of their debut album, Growing Up Absurd.

Unfamiliar territory from the 80s – new if you haven’t heard it yet.

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