Goth rock from the 80s plays London show for the first time in God knows how long and get all the balding former Goths out in force to pull shapes and sing their hearts out and remember what it was like in the good old days. Uh, nope not really to be fair to the brothers Morris. Recorded almost twelve months ago this mammoth seventeen song set brings back memories for sure but boy do these songs sound just as good today as they did back in their heyday. Recorded back at the end of 2018 in the Islington Academy shows the strength of the band’s catalogue to fill a decent-sized venue
‘Sun Family’ that pulled in the first singles and EPs and ‘The Greatest Story Never Told’ (the first album proper) and ‘Live Free Or Die’ are the focus of this set and are well represented to be fair and a decent spread throughout the set although the band have played sets of the first two albums complete side by side but here that’s not the case and a good flow is captured. It is awesome to hear ‘I Believe’ amongst the likes of the more atmospheric ‘She Knows’ whilst the harder rockers such as ‘Long Time Loving You’ from the Live Free album reminds me of the classic ‘Alright Now’ riff and I’m pretty sure Balaam and the likes of The Cult and The Mission were all listening to similar records around the time so it makes sense I guess but that’s not taking anything away from ‘Long Time Loving You’ because it sounds great . The band sound well-rehearsed and tight.
The sprightly ‘Slow Down’ reminds me a little of The Teardrop Explodes if they were more of a rock band. I always loved Des Morris’ rhythms it was very tribal and created an atmosphere that complemented what the rest of the band were doing. ‘Light Of The World’ being a great example he could have just thumped out the rhythm but there’s more going on than that.
I’m torn as to what my favourite Balaam album was and after listening to this Live album I’m leaning towards the ‘Live Fast’ era it was more in line with a lot of what I was listening to at the time and its stood the tests of time really well. ‘Would I Die For You’ sounds excellent and to follow it up with a rousing ‘Big City Fun Time Girl’ followed by ‘Love The Things’ then ‘I’ll Show You Something Special’ rockin’ out before the finale of a stunning rendition of ‘Isabella’s Eyes’ and then they’re done. It’s a great snapshot of a band playing songs that are over thirty years old and making them as relevant today as they were when they first hit the airwaves.
If you’ve not got those records anymore and want to rediscover your youth or you want to know what goth rock sounded like or you just want to impress your friends with a cracking live album (sure it’s still a thing) then ‘That’s Not The Real World’ is the real deal. Get yourself some Balaam And The Angels in 2019 it very good indeed.
Author: Dom Daley