Forgotten Sounds: Easterhouse

Reviewing the Chapterhouse reissue reminded me of another great forgotten British band, the similarly named Easterhouse. Hailing from Manchester, the group fronted by brothers Andy and Ivor Perry on vocals and lead guitar respectively, released their debut album “Contenders” on Rough Trade Records in 1986. The group was championed by none other than Smiths icon Morrissey whose group released their masterpiece, “The Queen Is Dead,” in the same year. Easterhouse were an intense bunch. Their dark, reverb-drenched sound combined the angst of the Chameleons and the first two U2 albums with some of the jangly guitar textures of The Smiths. That, combined with their defiant revolutionary lyrics made them stand out in the overly conservative climate of the mid-’80s. Despite writing songs that praised the likes of Lenin and IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, Easterhouse somehow managed to get an international deal with corporate giant Columbia Records before everything came crashing down. The Perry brothers had a falling out and the group broke up. Andy went on to release a second Easterhouse album with an entirely different lineup in 1989, but that pretty much sucked; the bland production and slick commercial sound all but washing out Perry’s deeply soulful vocals, which shine so brightly on “Contenders.” As a footnote, when The Smiths broke up in 1987, Ivor Perry was briefly considered as a repalcement for Johnny Marr. “Contenders” was reissued on Cherry Red Records in 2001 on CD with bonus non-LP tracks.

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