The Faith Brothers were a mid-80s outfit from Fulham in west London who managed to pull off the rare trick of combining heartfelt socialist sentiments in their lyrics with yer actual, rousing indiepop melodies.
Now, I'd like to say I first stumbled across the Faith Brothers at some intimate fund-raising gig for the striking miners or something, but alas the truth is far more prosaic: I first heard them on a lazy weekday morning during my school holidays! In the summer of 1985, to be precise, when they were featured on the now long-since defunct breakfast television franchise TV-am as part of a feature on up-and-coming "bands to watch".
The featured song on TV-am was the brilliant A Stranger On Home Ground (they showed the video, if memory serves) and, despite the fact that this was a million miles removed from the sort of pop fodder I'd been used to thus far in my callow existence (Baltimora, Mai Tai and Denise LaSalle were very big that summer), I was immediately smitten. It still remains one of the best singles of the eighties for me even now. See what you think:
Faith Brothers - A Stranger On Home Ground mp3 (available for seven days)
Two albums were to follow over the next two years, Eventide and A Human Sound, but, as is so often the case, the Faith Brothers never achieved the commercial acclaim their music so richly deserved. But they left some truly wondrous music behind. The 1986 single Whistling In The Dark is every bit as fantastic as A Stranger... and contains one of the most damning lyrical indictments of the government and life in Thatcher's Britain ever committed to vinyl:
From all that you elect you cower
Hypocrisy governs every waking hour
Humankind is overlooked
By liars, cheats and crooks
selling souls for power
Pretty unequivocal, that! And there's plenty more elsewhere in the song:
The Faith Brothers - Whistling in the Dark (7" version) mp3 (available for seven days)
The band's leader, Billy Franks, is still gigging and releasing solo albums in 2007, and, incredibly generously, has made pretty much the entire Faith Brothers back catalogue - both the studio albums plus a whole host of rare b-sides and live tracks - available to download for free at his website. There's also the option - one I'd strongly recommend! - of making a voluntary donation to Billy via Paypal after you've downloaded his songs. (be rude not to really!)
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