Band Of Holy Joy

The Clouds That Break the Sky

Band Of Holy Joy frontman Johny Brown was in ‘77 punk band, yet it was some later that the real story begins. While sharing a North Cross squat with Test Department and Vic Reeves, he and his fellow travellers began a process of experimentation and discovery. Raw ambient pieces appeared on compilations alongside Dead Can Dance, Sonic Youth and Mark Stewart. Few would expect the transformation that was apparent when the band began issuing their own records. Those early releases make a case for Band of Holy Joy as the last fully original and inspired post-punk combo. In the C86 period, with its halfhearted Postcard copyists, uninspired Buzzcocks wannabes and ‘zany’ Beefheart types, Band of Holy Joy sounded unique. Yet during those days, Band of Holy Joy’s depth, socio-political lyricism and portraiture of tragic human existencejust made them pariahs. The Clouds That Break The Sky gathers up all of the early releases issued on records bearing Band Of Holy Joy’s name alone. The 41 tracks presented here originate from two albums, four EPs and singles, plus four unreleased alternate studio versions. These recordings and the band’s live performances led to a deal with Rough Trade. This resulted in some of their finest recordings, a near hit . . . and disaster. As they entered public consciousness, Rough Trade collapsed, days after the release of a new album The band’s momentum was severely affected and they split soon after, only to reform a few years back to new acclaim. These recordings do not fall into easy categories - there’s a touch of the odd humanism of early Virgin Prunes, the bile and humour of early Microdisney, a touch of Vic Godard’s wit and wink, even pre-rock romanticism . . . but Band Of Holy Joy stand alone. This box is a limited edition of 400 copies.