Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sex Gang Children – Song And Legend (Illuminated, 1983)

Oh why Lordy me!
It’s been absolutely years since I last listened to this, and now I can’t stop listening to it. The Song and Legend album stands as an excellent illustration of how listening to the original album is often a much more rewarding experience than best-of compilations. Thumping tribal drumbeats, Andi’s screaming strangled cat vocals, and lyrics that clearly demonstrate how at this stage Goth had so much more to offer artistically than homogenous rock songs titled after girls whose names had an odd tendency to end in an “a”. And yet, in the midst of this off-the-wall aggression lurks the delicate violin-driven “Sebastiane” prophesising the dark-cabaret style that the band and Andi’s solo material would later prove so instrumental in developing. All this and a brilliant album cover and logo to boot. (On later pressings the gold font would be replaced by white which proved substantially easier to read, but also substantially less impressive.)

Sex Gang Children started out life as Panic Button before changing their name to one which Andi’s mate George O’Dowd (later to attain pop fame with Culture Club as Boy George) had previously rejected as having limited commercial potential (One can only speculate at the level of outrage a mainstream pop band called Sex Gang Children with a single entitled “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” might have generated).

As a support band for early scene leaders UK Decay they swiftly climbed the ladder to become one of the movers and shakers of the early scene. The undeniable power and catchiness of their first single Beasts (Illuminated, 1982) seemed to ensure big things were to follow, yet Song And Legend would prove to be their only full length release studio album during their original existence. 

The Beasts 7" providing what would 
later become Sex Gang's defacto logo

Although they would break up the following year, numerous compilations and live albums have since appeared, and following their reformation in 1991 a renewal of studio output, their most recent being the download-only Salamun Child EP (Song & Legend, 2009).

In the meantime, Andi has released a substantial body of solo work, Dave formed the criminally under-rated Carcrash International with former members of Christian Death, and Rob joined the relatively obscure Aemortii Crii who would later provide members to The Sisters of Mercy and All About Eve. In a bizarrely incestuous move, Rob’s replacement on drums was Nigel Preston (Formerly with Theatre of Hate) who quickly moved on to Death Cult only to be replaced by Death Cult (and former Ritual) drummer Ray Mondo. Stranger still, Song and Legend was produced by Tony James (later on guitar with The Sisters of Mercy), featured backing vocals from Neil X and Boy George’s squatting mate around this time was Martin Degville, all of whom would go on to find fame three years down the track as Sigue Sigue Sputnik, all of which serves to underline just how incredibly convoluted kinship relations in the UK 80’s music scene often were.

Track Listing:
  1. The Crack Up
  2. German Nun
  3. (Chant)
    State of Mind
  4. Sebastiane
  5. Draconian Dream
  6. Shout and Scream
  7. Killer ‘K’
  8. Cannibal Queen
  9. (Abyss)
  10. Kill Machine
  11. Song and Legend
  12. (Dream Reprise)

The CD re-release (Cherry Red, 2005) also contains alternate versions of “Shout and Scream”, “Sebastiane” and “Song and Legend” as bonus tracks.

Line Up: Andi Sex Gang (vocals), Dave Roberts (bass, Spanish guitar, backing vocals), Terry MacLeay (guitar, backing vocals), Rob Stroud (drums).


  1. Excellent - I remember having this on vinyl but no idea where it is now. I don't see a download link, or has it been pulled?

    Incidentally I was searching for SGC the other week and discovered a 'rockumentary' about them - managed to grab it but haven't brought myself to watch it yet.

    Nice blog btw...

  2. Thanks for dropping by!
    Out of respect for the artists, I generally try to avoid providing downloads for material that is still commercially available. And there are plenty of others out there who do it anyhow.
    Where I do provide links to a download, it will be to something well out of print, probably very obscure and can be viewed as a measure of how much trouble it gave me to track down. Cold Dance, Ritual and Fur Bible being cases in point.

    Speaking of which, now I'm going to have to chase down the SGC doco you mentioned ;-)

    All the best & looking forward to hearing from you again!

  3. Did you mean the "Bastard Art" doco, or are we talking about something much older?

  4. Replies
    1. Ya, they were my fav back in the day. Around 91 then moved to LA and i remember they did a shit load of shows with a guitar player named tommy. Andi still wore pajamas..LOL I worked at Helter Skelter at the time. Maaaan those were the days!!!!!!