The Lords of the New Church
The Lords of the New Church Special Edition
By 1980 things weren’t looking bright for many of the first wave punk bands. After a flash of inspiration and creativity, bands found themselves burnt out, looking for something beyond the simple, aggressive rock that they found so cathartic just a few years ago.
Some found inspiration in the synthesizers. Some in dub and world music. Stiv Bators, vocalist of the Dead Boys, was inspired by the garage sounds of the Nuggets compilations. Teaming up with ex-Damned founder and songwriter Brian James, their new band, The Lords of the New Church, would create an appealingly sleazy hybrid of goth, punk, glam, and garage.
The self-titled album would be released in 1982 and found some chart success with “Open Your Eyes.” Songs like “Portobello” acknowledge the post-punk wave sweeping the underground at the time, with a pounding Killing Joke-esque intro, while the garage rock influence is seen in the band’s cover of “A Question of Temperature.” “Eat Your Heart Out” comes closest to the sneering punk of the Dead Boys, and “Russian Roulette,” a shimmering, languid reflection on the Vietnam War.
Bators’ vocals have largely traded aggression for a knowing sleaze, and James’ demonstrates his ability to alternate between ragers and more atmospheric songs. Blixa Records’ remastering of the album has resulted in a fuller bass sound (provided by ex-Sham 69 member Dave Tregunna). The reissue contains a second disc featuring the band live in New York close to the release of the self-titled album.
Were The Lords of the New Church the band who inspired underground bands to start wearing scarves? That one’s for the music historians to argue over. Regardless, with the blend of punk, garage, goth, or glam, The Lords of the New Church is a brilliantly trashy debut, and one that is well-served by this reissue.