Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Temple of Love

My second year at Leeds begin with Jumbo Records’ window a sea of green with the instant release of the latest Sisters’ single, Temple of Love, simultaneously on both 7” and 12” for the first time. Early October releases were very popular with all labels at that time with record companies keen to cash in on the student pound as grant cheques arrived for the start of the academic session, and one year on from the game-changing  Alice/Floorshow 7” the Sisters seemed to be at the height of their powers. The title track, a new song for all aficianados as it had never been performed live (a fact that was to remain true for many years), came in extended version for the indie dancefloor on the 12”, and featured a neat drum solo for the first time by Doktor Avalanche. Even better was the inclusion of a stonking version of live favourite Gimme Shelter, Von’s much professed tribute to the spirit of Altamont from someone who genuinely wished he had been around in 1969. The cover remains one of their finest hours, Marx’s shimmering solo soaring above Gunn’s open chords and Adam’s buzzing repetitive bassline, with a multi-tracked Eldritch intoning the sombre lyric in his finest baritone. The other b-side was the disposable yet inexplicably popular Heartland, more of a riff than a song (like many of the more recent compositions in that respect), with Eldritch repeating the two word chorus ad nauseam. The title track’s dark, gothic (with a small g) lyric and subtle arpeggios which also feature in the other two UK top ten hits (TC and More being ultimately joined by the later version of ToL) gave the glossily produced track hit potential, and despite the lack of accompanying live dates it shot to the top of the indie charts. However, with gigs cancelled and rumours of unrest in the camp, what should have been the launchpad to major global success seemed within weeks to be a fine epitaph for a departing band, with news of Ben Gunn’s departure leaking out and the Sisters withdrawing into a media silence which would last into the New Year …

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