Glorious Din - Leading Stolen Horses LP


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Label: Onderstroom

Onderstroom present a reissue of Glorious Din's Leading Stolen Horses, originally released in 1985.

How a boy from the Sri Lankan jungle formed the greatest post-punk band you've never heard. Fronted by an intense singer with an oblique songbook and a mysterious past, Glorious Din was unlike any other group to emerge from San Francisco's '80s underground. With singer Eric Cope, the chosen persona of a Joy Division-obsessed Sri Lankan boy who travelled halfway around the world to follow his punk dream.

The multifaceted nature of the '80s scene can seem baffling to outsiders, encompassing everything from three-chord thrash punk to garage-band pop, experimental art rock and atonal noise. Glorious Din mesmerizing sound instantly gets under your skin via their non-standard drum patterns, Eastern-sounding guitar melodies, a melodic bass in pole position and a dissociative singer. The enigmatic group helped total unknowns gain recognition and were the uncommon glue linking Faith No More, the Dead Kennedys, and Michael Franti, as well as R.E.M. and the Cocteau Twins.

Glorious Din's appeal was their mysteriousness: a quartet of mismatched musicians not necessarily playing their chosen instruments, with the obscure lyrics of their intense frontman near impossible to decipher. The group imploded after only three years, but their cult appeal has lasted far longer through their two albums and related material.

Glorious Din released Leading Stolen Horses on their own Insight label in April 1985. The album stayed close to the sound they achieved live, conjuring something intense and atmospheric. The driving "Tenement Roofs" has a jagged energy, Paget's chugging guitar paralleling Herstedt's solid rhythm, as Heeschen creates slow melodic patterns that spiral upwards, and Cope sings of long hours passing in slow motion. "Pallet To The Floor" is just as striking on the album as it was in the live show, with Heeschen's bass ratcheting up the intensity. "Cello Tape", "Sixth Pillar", and "Insects" sound similarly dark; in contrast, "Arrival" wonders of nature, as experienced in his western wanderings.

They take the darker moments of Joy Division as a starting point but leaving behind the industrial angst and fury for a rich and soulful melancholy that seamlessly blends first and third world cultures. One of the true lost gems of west coast gothic post punk.