There is, as we all know, a secret history of popular music. There are records that manage never to remain completely discovered by the mass market, but which exert an influence far beyond their original reach, even up to the present day. The Sisters of Mercy figure in very solidly as one of the best and most influential bands in that history — everyone from Guns ‘n Roses on down has paid tribute in some form to the Sisters — but what’s peculiar is how an album that wasn’t even recorded under their real name in a little over a week has had as much influence as anything else they’ve ever done.
This isn’t the place to go into a full history of the Sisters, but the short version would run something like this: A former student of Mandarin from Leeds, Andrew William Harvey Taylor, changed his name to Andrew Eldritch, donned shades, and founded a rock band called the Sisters of Mercy. At first derided, they went on to become wildly successful just outside the mainstream (they’re enormously popular in Europe), while garnering a solid cult following in the USA and influencing a whole generation of dark-rockers. Despite being lumped in with the goth-rock likes of Bauhaus, Eldritch insisted on simply calling the Sisters a rock and roll band, and the steely, fiery sound of the latter albums bear this out. What sets them apart from the rest of the pack is their acerbic and biting sense of humor and irony, and some of the best, most memorable songwriting this side of the Pleiades. Read more
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