Saturday, December 31, 2011

Anorexic Dread – Tracy’s Burning 12” (Criminal Damage, 1984)

Falling somewhere in the gap between Alien Sex Fiend and a slo-mo version of The Cramps, the short-lived Anorexic Dread appeared out of DanielleDax’s hometown of Southend, Essex in 1983, lasting until just 1985. Perhaps best described as a kind of Horror-Punk / Psychobilly outfit, other obvious influences included The Birthday Party and Killing Joke. If they’d been American, it’s a fair bet that Anorexic Dread almost certainly would have come under the Deathrock tag. Frontman Phil Black was quick to belie the band’s morbid image however, stating

“..we go onstage and have just as much of a lunatic time leaping around. We don’t take what we do seriously. We go onstage to enjoy ourselves and we invariably do.”

The Tracy’s Burning 12” recorded at Diploma Studios represents Anorexic Dread’s sole contribution to vinyl. Interestingly, while lists only one version of the 12”, variations of the cover art appear to exist, with the band’s logo sometimes appearing top left, and sometimes in the top right. The variant album cover can be seen on the link below.

Side A of the 12” begins with the epic nine minutes plus title track “Tracy’s Burning” and its conclusion “Epitaph” while side B graces us with the much more Psycobillyesque “Tick Tock”. I must confess, that this didn’t do much for me on initial hearing, but it does grow on repeated listenings, actually becoming kind of endearing. And here for your listening pleasure:

Tracy’s Burning / Epitaph

Tick Tock

The band played quite a few venues around Essex including The Pink Toothbrush /Crocs (Don’t bother Googling “Crocs” – you’ll just end up with links to a lot of sites selling some spectacularly unattractive excuses for what passes as “shoes”). They also played The Batcave in London on at least one occasion, and managed to wrangle a support gig with Alien Sex Fiend, a coupling I imagine would have worked perfectly for them.

This live picture purports to have been taken at Crocs, but 
the source who was nice enough to point me in its direction disputes this.

Things didn’t last too long after the 12” however, with Anorexic Dread’s guitarist going walkabout as a roadie for The Cure. A new line-up did record a demo “Dark Night in London”, apparently in a more straight forward rock direction, but the band seems to have dissolved soon after. Other songs are documented to exist including “She’s Beautiful and She’s Mine”, “Dragnet” and “Limelight”, but as far as I can tell, none were ever formally released.

There’s a common misconception, especially amongst newer musical collectors of subgenres that “obscurity” somehow equates with “credibility”. In reality, some bands remained obscure because they weren’t in existence long enough to make a real impact, some because they never got the breaks, some because they were so left of field as to never catch on, and quite a lot who remained obscure because they simply weren’t that good. In the case of Anorexic Dread, I suspect that this is very much a matter of personal taste, but I do think it worth more than just one listen before making your mind up.

Track Listing:
  1. Tracy’s Burning / Epitaph
  2. Tick Tock

Line Up:
Phil Black (vocals), Leonard Finch (AKA: Leonardo de Finchie) (guitar), Magoo (keyboards), Donald Frame (drums)


  1. Definitely not Croc's.

    1. defo not Crocs - upstairs @ the Grand Hotel, leigh-on-sea i think