Personalities | Japan | Eighties | Rock
(Vocal/instrumental group, 1974–82, 1991)
This South-East London band led by singer David Sylvian (real name Batt) traced an odd career trajectory. Starting out playing guitar-based glam, they tried to fit in with punk, but found their forte in the new romantic era. Mick Karn (bass, saxophone), Rob Dean (guitar), Richard Barbieri (synthesizers), and Steve Jansen (b. Stephen Batt, drums) completed the personnel who finally made inroads with their third album Quiet Life (1980). This relied on the band’s conversion to intricate, intelligent synth-based pop, and after Gentlemen Take Polaroids in late 1980, Dean left. Their next album Tin Drum (1981) seemed to point towards greatness. It reached No. 12 in the UK and produced one of the most captivating Top 5 singles of the time, the ethereal ‘Ghosts’. Internal tensions, however, precluded any further releases. Sylvian then pursued a successful solo career. Strangely, the band reconvened under the name Rain Tree Crow for one final album in 1991.
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