I love a good dose of 80s synth pop just as much as a good dose of punky reggae (maybe I was a little hard on Modern Romance before…), and under my microscope today is a nifty outfit that managed to deftly occupy both of those territories.
Before taking to the charts with the sublime strains of ‘I’m In Love With A German Film Star’, The Passions harbored an even darker soul characterized by lonely guitar lines, distant drums and Barbara Gogan’s hauntingly Spartan vocals.
‘Hunted’, their second single, is the nervously seductive slice of urban paranoia that marks the group’s foray into reggae territory, which, despite its linear nature, conjures a disquietingly vivid image of claustrophobic Thatcherite Britain (‘Survival is hard in the city / find me a place where no people go / feel like a hunted woman in the city / feel like everyone’s trying to get you’).
I first heard this brooding little beast on a cheap compilation I picked up aeons ago from dear old WH Smith, and it’s remained firm in my heart ever since.
I’m not sure if The Passions ever walked quite as overtly down the reggae aisle again, but it’s clear from just about all of their other material that the influence loomed large.
Try this European Grey on for size:
And here’s a live version from 1981 when Barbara had finished off the lyrics: