Various Artists

Bouquet of Steel

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Remember early-'80s bands like Repulsive Alien, Shy Tots, Musical Janeens, the Flying Alphonso Brothers, and the Scarborough Antelopes? Of course not -- they were from Sheffield, England. But then again, so were Def Leppard and ABC, the latter of which -- at the time of this record's release, anyhow -- was still in a formative state as Vice Versa. Released in mid-1980 by the local Aardvark label, a label run by Record Mirror writer Marcus Featherby, Bouquet of Steel was released to show that Sheffield wasn't only about Cabaret Voltaire and the Human League (and, well, Def Leppard). The town also had bands like the Comsat Angels, Artery, I'm So Hollow, and the lesser-known aforementioned. Most of these bands fit into the post-punk scene, but as any given town is likely to produce a wide spectrum of music, there is a good variety displayed from band to band. It certainly isn't on the same plane as compilations from the era like C81 or even Hicks From the Sticks or From Brussels With Love, but it should appeal somewhat to those who have an affinity for anything released from the U.K. around that period. (See the Messthetics series for more obsessive obscurantism.) As an interesting footnote, a young Sheffield band by the name of Pulp was not included on the compilation, but the liner notes contain a blurb about the band and relate them to the Fall.