Sunday, June 3, 2012

Salvation – Clash of Dreams EP (Unreleased, circa 1984/1985)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away when I was still a poor university student, I actually owned a copy of Salvation’s Diamonds are Forever LP (Ediesta Records, 1987). To say that it did nothing for me would be something of an understatement. The mere fact that I can’t find it in my collection any more strongly suggests that it was one of the many mediocrities that I hocked to afford bus fare to uni back in the day.

Now that I finally get hold of a copy once again it’s a tad disappointing that I still can’t find much good to say about it – it remains, at best a very flaccid beast, hard to listen to without making the “meh” face and it’s easy to see how I was able to sell it with few regrets.

Mercifully, this is not the album this post is about.
What we are talking about is something much earlier, much, much better and sadly unreleased.

Salvation were yet another of the burgeoning Leeds Goth scene in the early 80’s.
Never bearing quite the stature of the early Sisters, MarchViolets or Skeletal Family, yet (initially) working happily alongside them. With their first single, “Girlsoul / Evelyn”  coming out through The Sister’s of Mercy label Merciful Release appearing in 1983 all seemed well.

Things were sufficiently cosy in fact for Andrew Eldritch to take mixing duties of Salvation’s new EP, even lending them The Sisters' trusty drum machine Doktor Avalanche and understanding that the band were a bit skint, to accept payment in magic pixie marching powder in lieu of cash. Everything seemed fine, and yet the Clash of Dreams EP was never to be released.

So what happened?

Well everyone, both bands and commentators, seem to be a little coy about saying outright, but the general gist seems to be that it may have had something to do with the cover art of this little number:

The Sisters of Mercy Body and Soul 12"  
(Merciful Release, 1885). Anyone else feeling a sense of deja vu?

Regardless of who came up with the concept first, a schism does seem to have taken place between Salvation and Merciful Release with the single Jessica’s Crime (a different version from the EP) eventually emerging on Simon D of The March Violets’ label Batfish in 1985 and produced by Wayne Hussey.

The Clash of Dreams EP is clearly a child of the Leeds scene – the drum machine alone is a dead giveaway. Not to mention how much “Burning On” can’t help but invoke thoughts of The March Violets. What sets Salvation apart from their Leeds contemporaries however, is the inclination towards psychedelia, that seems to have become more prominent as their career progressed, perhaps a result of more prominent groups like The Cult and All About Eve giving license to such indulgences.

“Jessica’s Crime” is the obvious single here, but really, the EP as a whole does little to disappoint. You can hear it online here: and I strongly suggest you do. A downloadable version is available at the most excellent (and apparently sadly dormant) Return to the East blog, but sadly both versions seem to have been taken from a damaged cassette that has been shakily repaired. If anyone has access to a more pristine version, please let me know and I’ll be more than happy to arrange to make it more widely available.

Little of the abandoned Clash of Dreams EP remains. Jessica’s crime was released as a 7” (Batfish Incorporated, 1985) and Sea of Dreams would eventually re-emerge in a very different version on Diamonds are Forever. Nothing else remains.

The October Hour / The Return

Jessica's Crime (7" version)

 Meanwhile, Salvation went on to produce two LPs and a surprising number of singles. With that kind of dedication, it almost seems rude to scoff at the undergraduate humour that led them to include a song called  “Pearl Necklace” on the B-side of their Sunshine Superman 12” (Karbon, 1988).

If you did want to chase down Salvation, a compilation called Salvation: The Complete Collection 1985-89 (Cherry Red, 2005) exists, apparently a re-release of the earlier Hunger Days 1985-89 comp (Timeslip, 1997) but with the Girlsoul 7” tacked on. It’s readily available on iTunes.

Good God, they’re still going!” declared an astonished Mick Mercer way back in 1992 (Gothic Rock, Pegasus Publishing). If that amazed him then, he’s probably going to spit his wooden dentures across the room when he discovers that 20 years later, they’re playing the DV8 festival at the end of this month.
Heads up to those of you in York.

Track Listing:
  1. The October Hour
  2. Jessica’s Crime
  3. Burning On
  4. Sea of Dreams
  5. Figurehead
  6. No Return

Line Up: Danny Mass (synths), James Elmore (bass), Mike (guitar – but replaced by Choque Hosein before the Jessica’s Crime 7” was released)

Although the official Salvation site describes this photo as an "early" lineup, the extra head leads me to suspect that is is probably from around 86 when the band decided to replace the drum machine with Paul Maher.


  1. Salvation...

    Incredibly great Girlsoul Ep with fantastic drum machine and changes of song pace with melancholic ballad Evelyn and pure psychedelic marathon on B-side with Dust up. And then... the rest of their discography is never even close to their early zenith... lots of material , but a few of really got songs. They even repeated themselves on Sass LP (Sea of dreams and Debris being blank copys of their previous songs...)
    And why did the six songs Clash of dreams EP never released? The rip of it available on net is low quality one , but still those six songs are a masterpiece. Somewhere I've read that those six songs (recorded in then-best-available-lowcost-studio) were only mr.Eldritchs rehearsal of that particular studio. If Salvation sounds OK there , the Sisters would record then also. Or so I've read...

  2. Happy Birthday, check it out Salvation