Being the total music geek that I am, I can tell you the first CD I ever bought. Well, make that the first two CDs I ever bought, since they were purchased at the same time from the same shop. In 1987, the Arcade Shopping Center in downtown Cleveland saw the opening of a store exclusively devoted to nothing but CDs Á¢€” I believe it was called CD World or some such Á¢€” which was a radical concept in those days when vinyl and cassettes still ruled. I was working my very first advertising job while still in high school, responsible for paste-ups (ah, those pre-computer days) and running general errands which took me to the big city. Those trips were looked forward to with great anticipation, since I could go CD shopping.
I didnÁ¢€â„¢t even have a CD player until 1988, but I was happy to buy CDs and record them at my buddy JeffÁ¢€â„¢s house onto high-quality metal (!) cassettes, since they sounded so much better. In the dawn of the CD era, record companies didnÁ¢€â„¢t just release everything on the new format Á¢€” they picked and chose the titles carefully, thinking this expensive, high-end format would appeal to more esoteric and varied tastes. The thinking was, Stacey Q fans werenÁ¢€â„¢t going to spring for a CD of Á¢€Å“Two of HeartsÁ¢€, but REM fans? Oh, yeah.
ThatÁ¢€â„¢s why the first two CDs I ever purchased were the BolshoiÁ¢€â„¢s Á¢€Å“FriendsÁ¢€ CD that also featured the Á¢€Å“GiantÁ¢€ EP tacked on, and the bandÁ¢€â„¢s follow-up, Á¢€Å“LindyÁ¢€â„¢s Party.Á¢€ I was a big fan of the band since picking up the Á¢€Å“GiantsÁ¢€ EP in 1985 after seeing the video for Á¢€Å“Happy BoyÁ¢€ in the wee hours of MTVÁ¢€â„¢s Á¢€Å“120 MinutesÁ¢€ show. From there, I got the Á¢€Å“FriendsÁ¢€ LP (I always thought the title was Á¢€Å“Friends or FiendsÁ¢€ based on the typography of the cover Á¢€” if you have it, you can see what I mean), and I was ecstatic to see that both of these were available on one CD. I hadnÁ¢€â„¢t purchased Á¢€Å“LindyÁ¢€â„¢s PartyÁ¢€ on any format yet, so that was a nice bonus.
AnyhoooooÁ¢€¦the Bolshoi formed in the early 80s in Leeds, England, headed by vocalist/guitarist Trevor Tanner who possesses one of those voices, like Morrissey, Lloyd Cole or Robert Smith Á¢€” you either love it or hate it. The man drips smarm, snark and sarcasm with each syllable. I, of course, loved it. Why are the Bolshoi featured during my spooky Halloween week? The lyrics. Dark, foreboding, yet thereÁ¢€â„¢s a hilarious line or aside tucked in here and theres. For example, Á¢€Å“A WayÁ¢€, the lead single from Á¢€Å“FriendsÁ¢€:
Á¢€Money’s scarce, but family honour
Á¢€¨Brings it home, brings it home
Á¢€¨And down the shop, the tongues they snicker
Á¢€¨TV dinners – beer and liquorrrrr, yeah
Á¢€¨Skeletons fall out of cupboards
Á¢€¨Curtains drawn – fall open – to allow
Á¢€¨The light – shows up the dust
Á¢€¨That plays around your face
Á¢€¨Yes you get by
Á¢€¨AwaaaAAAAAaaaYYYYYYYyyyyy!Á¢€(sing that last part with a high, whiny falsetto for maximum effect)
The earlier Á¢€Å“Happy BoyÁ¢€ is even creepier with the lines:
Á¢€such a happy boy today
blew my family clean awayÁ¢€
which makes you think, Á¢€Å“uh oh, someone got a .45 in the face,Á¢€ until you hit the next line:
Á¢€going to university
whaddaya think now?Á¢€
So, whatÁ¢€â„¢s it all about? IÁ¢€â„¢m not entirely sure, but I love it.
You may recognize Á¢€Å“LindyÁ¢€â„¢s PartyÁ¢€â„¢sÁ¢€ first single, Á¢€Å“TV ManÁ¢€ Á¢€” MTV played the video quite a bit on Á¢€Å“120 MinutesÁ¢€ back in the day. Á¢€Å“LindyÁ¢€â„¢s PartyÁ¢€ was a little more acoustically focused than their debut, with unsettling quiet passages, but still plently of hooks.
After Á¢€Å“LindyÁ¢€â„¢s PartyÁ¢€, the Bolshoi went their separate ways, to be Lost in the Á¢€Ëœ80s. However, both albums are still in print as imports (except now the Á¢€Å“GiantsÁ¢€ EP is gone from the Á¢€Å“FriendsÁ¢€ reissue Á¢€” WHY???). If you like what you hear here, by all means, check them out Á¢€” theyÁ¢€â„¢re uniformly good stuff.
Neither album charted.