The Bolshoi

Friends/Giants

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AllMusic Review by

Every band has the potential to produce one masterpiece before they're shuffled off into the cut-out bins. For the British group the Bolshoi, that work of art is "Sunday Morning"; clocking in at over six minutes, the song is the highlight of Friends/Giants, a CD that combines the Bolshoi's 1986 album Friends with five tracks from their 1985 EP Giant. Illuminated by Paul Clark's haunting keyboards and Trevor Tanner's warm baritone, "Sunday Morning" is Tanner's stinging confessional about the hypocrisy he witnessed in church as a child. "Standing in line with a dirty mind/clean it up on Sunday morning," Tanner sings, his voice crackling with contempt. The Bolshoi aren't able to reach the artistic heights of "Sunday Morning" again in Friends/Giants, but the band has other compelling tales to tell. Of the tunes included from Giant, "Happy Boy" and "Fly" best display the Bolshoi's early gothic rock inclinations: dense, swirling guitars and bleak lyrics. The Bolshoi are not musically inventive, but they can harness their obvious Psychedelic Furs and Cure influences into grim, spellbinding rock. In "A Way," driving guitar riffs sharpen the tension in a song about a family selling their daughter to prostitution. The Bolshoi have an unfortunate tendency to meander, but when they're focused, they can serve a potent brew. On Friends/Giants, the Bolshoi hit the bull's eye more often than they miss.

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