Despite the foreboding words, there's a glimmer of hope in Gene Loves Jezebel's first '82 single from Situation Two called 'Shaving My Neck.' That glimmer is the beautiful voice singing those words as a back-up. Maybe this band can actually make some good music... Then the bassist, the person behind the voice, leaves to strike out on her own. Thankfully for us (though GLJ does manage to produce some worthy material despite their loss).
Sometime later Julianne Regan, she of the heavenly voice, found herself joining Manuella Zwingman -formerly of X-Mal Deustchland and, eventually, guitar maestro Tim Bricheno -formerly of Amoetii Crii. They were together long enough to call themselves the Swarm.
Then Manuella left Julianne and Tim to find themselves a new direction and name. Thus All About Eve were born. With that settled, they found themselves a bassist to complement the pair. Enter Andy Cousin -also formerly of Amoetii Crii. A single emerges called 'D For Desire'. Some goths raise an eyebrow & turn their heads. "Hey, what's this," they say in pleased tones...
The second single emerges called 'In The Clouds' and is received with some critical approval (perhaps most noticably by Mick Mercer). This earns them a track on a ZigZag compilation "Gunfire & Pianos" called 'Suppertime', a track Mr. Mercer calls "the most up and aggressive thing they've ever done." However, among those taking notice is ex-Sister Of Mercy, now Mission leader, Wayne Hussey. Clearly impressed, Wayne talked Julianne into recording some back-up for the Mish. Wayne, in turn, produced the Eves next single 'Our Summer' & Mission drummeister Mick Brown (formerly of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry) fills in for the doomed drum machine.
Finally, after another brilliant single: 'Flowers In Our Hair', Mission manager Tony Perrin takes the Eves under his wing and a deal is struck with Mish label Phonogram. This leads to the departure of the first band member: the drum machine. Mr. Machine is replaced by the more human Mark Price, sealing the line up.
Out burst a multitude of sublime singles: the guitar driven stormer 'Every Angel', the energetic 'Wild Hearted Woman' and the heart-felt 'What Kind Of Fool', all flirting with the UK charts. Strangely enough for all their quality, the only single to break into the top 10 was balladic elegance itself, in the form of 'Martha's Harbour' -insert sigh here.
The self-titled debut album (wisely called "All About Eve") contained all of these tracks as well as some notable B-sides. In a splendid case of role-reversal, the album featured Wayne Hussey doing back-up on an Eves song, 'Shelter From The Rain' (notably similar in name to the Mission's song 'Shelter From The Storm'). Also of note on the album is one of the most stunning, heart-wrenching versions of the sombre 'She Moves Through The Fair' ever recorded.
The release of the album seemed to raise an eyebrow from a few of their goth fans. There was beginning to be a sense that the band wasn't really goth at all. Which, in a sense, is (and was) true, as All About Eve can not be simply put into any category, be it goth, pop, rock, folk, alternative... whatever. Eves music transcends a simple heading, which is as hard to fathom as their lack of strong commercial success. It may, however, have been a cause, as most people want their music served to them as if they were getting it from a fast food joint. (Most Eves fans quietly enjoy a quick burger [veggieburger in my case! - Chris W] here & there but also have the ability to appreciate something rather more exquisite). The fan-base built up in those days was, in many ways, unique.
The music attracted people who were very sensitive and fully able to grasp the ideologies portrayed in tracks like "In The Clouds" and "Flowers In Our Hair" which were very much not in-vogue at the time. The "Eden" and "Evezine" fanzines were full of delightful fans' artwork and poetry, and you always felt you were part of something special and unique. The fan club members were known as "Angels", which said it all really....
These ponderings remained as '89 came to a close and a new single was released, this one a hauntingly stunning track called 'Road To Your Soul' that shadowed forth the second album, "Scarlet And Other Stories". The first album is great due to a collection of great songs and singles. This album is amazing due to it being a billiant conceptual whole, not so much a collection of great songs, but an album of brilliance, with each track complimenting the others, not competing with them.
Only three tracks turned out as singles: the afformentioned RTYS; the title track, 'Scarlet'; & a meloncholic moment of living in the past aptly entitled 'December'. An obvious choice of single material: the up-beat(ish), wonderful, commercially friendly 'Tuesday's Child', was sadly neglected. "Scarlet" remains a fan favourite, and one listen explains why. Pure beauty from the fade in of 'Road To your Soul' to the final notes of the tragic love story of 'The Two Pearl Fisherman' (a song that dares you not to get a lump in your throat with each listen). S&OS is kind of like remembering a chill December, snow crunching beneath your Doc Martens as you walk at dusk through a park with someone you loved (or at least thought you did at one time). Calm, soothing. Joyous & sad. For the moment, all the perfection that is needed.... Sorry, one can get carried away...
Somewhere along the way, Tim got lost (disillusioned?) in the perfection. Finally, he and Julianne split and he left the band; going on to something known as XC-NN and the Sisters Of Mercy, two places where he could rock out to his heart's content. Tim's abscence left a huge gap to be filled, as not just anyone could take up his place. Only the best could close the void. In the meantime Wayne Hussey filled in on guitar for two tracks: 'If I Had You' (aka 'Theft')& 'Different Sky', which eventually saw the light of day on the "Winter Words" compilation - against the band's wishes. They were two positive tracks that seemed to be the Eves way of saying goodbye to Mr. Bricheno. They eventually found there onto the Eves singles compilation, "Winter Words".
So they got the best: a guitar virtuoso from Liverpool (and another great band, The Church). Enter Marty Willson-Piper, really a marvellous choice. Marty shouldn't have had to justify his being in the band as he was (& is) a spectacular guitar player, however, he still may have felt a little like he had to prove something to long-time Eves fans (many of whom also felt he had to prove something, since he wasn't Tim). Although many fans of both bands probably felt as I did, that this was a dream combination come true... pass the cigarette.
With the addition of Marty and his Rickenbacker as well as some frustration with S&OS not selling as well as it should have the band altered musical course a little with the next album, though not as much as one may think at first. In fact, "Touched By Jesus" has, arguably, much in common with both "All About Eve" and "Scarlet & Other Stories". Though it is with this album, where, most notably All About Eve and that spectre called goth part ways. As if to use an exclamation point to mark the occasion the first single was an up-beat, defiant track called 'Farewell Mr. Sorrow'. Also gone was the producer of the first two discs, Paul Samwell-Smith, replaced by Warne Livesey, who also added some keyboards & string arrangements.
The next single to be released was the album's opening track: 'Strange Way', which helped define Marty's presence within the band. The final single for the album, 'The Dreamer', aptly titled, it's a dreamy song with kaleidoscope lyrics and a cool wah-wah guitar. It also became the last All About Eve single with Phonogram. The album itself couldn't have been met with much enthusiasm by the execs at Phonogram as it was released through Vertigo & not in the States as all, which is a shame as "Touched By Jesus" is another that Eves fans favour. It's an album that you just don't get tired of hearing, every track is strong and most give you the feeling that you want to hear that one again before going on to the next one.
But then the next one starts and you remember how much you like this one too, and so on. This could have been another album with plenty of singles, and if All About Eve were called REM, than, doubtless, there would have been more. 'The Mystery We Are' is a great track, as is the title track, as is 'Ravens' (who can get that song out of there heads hours after listening to it?). And 'Are You Lonely' may very well give 'Martha's Harbour' a run for it's money as the Melancholia Society's theme song (complete with guitar/whale sounds leading into and out of the song -and disc).
As a brief aside, it may be interesting to note that while Marty was working with All About Eve, he was also busy with the Church & solo material, as "Priest = Aura," by the Church & Marty's third full length solo album, "Spirit Level," were all released relatively close together.
The aside aside, it was here that the Eves left Phonogram, by mutual agreement it seems. Their formaer label then upset the band by releasing an Eves compilation, "Winter Words", which featured all the Phonogram singles plus some B-sides and the aforementioned "demos" featuring Wayne Hussey on guitar.
Followng the parting of the ways with Phonogram, they were quickly picked up by MCA, which resulted in a couple of singles and the last All About Eve album, "Ultraviolet." If "Touched By Jesus" was the disc that told goth to get lost as a moniker for the band, than "Ultraviolet" was the one that kicked it in the face and told it to piss off. The final album is a controversial one to many Eves fans. Many dislike the seemingly radical departure from their past. Others feel UV is a natural progression for a band and give the band credit for venturing beyond their staple sound. In fact, it's not really to far of a stray for the band. The lyrics are still strong and thought-provoking(if you let them, that is), difference being Julianne's vocals -always at the forefront before, were now layered equal to the rest of the sound.
The disc, though, on thorough listening to, is as brilliant, beginning to end, as any other Eves album. The singles were well chosen, though a few more should have been added. 'Phased,' the opening single and track give a good idea of what the album is about. The next single, 'Some Finer Day' has one of the best guitar intros of any band. The bass line of 'Things He Told Her' is astounding, it's easily one of the most memorable of the Eves song catalog. 'Outshine The Sun', the last track, is an epic jaw-dropper, having the best of all the band. Julianne's heavenly voice is offset and drawn along beautifully & rhythmically by Mark and Andy.
All the while Marty is gearing up, playing that Rickenbacker for all it's worth, to a towering crescendo of electrifying guitar and drums. If ever there was a stamp to put at the end of a bands career together, this is it. It's ending is almost a defiance, the last notes an exasperated "There, that's all". And then it's gone, more quickly than it came.
The Eves split up in the early months of 1993, disillusioned, perhaps, by the negative reaction fom a lot of their long-standing fans to "Ultraviolet". MCA had also dropped the band after just one album. An officially stated reason for the split was that demos recorded at that time sounded too much like "Road To Your Soul". Many would have been delighted at this news, but it wasn't what the band wanted, and so All About Eve quietly embarked on a one-way trip into the clouds without fuss. There was no shock-horror press release to mark the occasion, just a quiet passing, largely unnoticed save for the adoring fans who lost something which they cherished dearly.
In just four albums, this band put out more quality than most bands ever dream of making. All About Eve wasn't a band to categorize or place into a niche, they were (and still are -just ask any fan) something more. Their music could be different things for different people, it took on a variety of roles: passionate, senual & romantic. It was also hard, biting & stunning. It took trips into mystery and intrigue and left in awe. Yet, many times it took (and still takes -listen to them again, you know) us through all of this and back again without our even knowing it. Hah! And you just thought you loved the music.
Sincere thanks to Jim Kee for writing the bulk of the band history with assistance from Sally