Ireland in the late 1970s and early 1980s was an island in the grip of unrest, with civil and political strife in the north, and a tardy economy and religious hegemony in the south. To be young in Ireland at this time was extremely tough with many choosing to follow the well worn path of emigration. A significant number of those that stayed had little choice but to join the dole as employment opportunities were scant. However, the increasing influence of those windows to the wider world such as TV, radio and print were combining to fuel imaginations and plant seeds of disaffection amongst an increasingly sophisticated and pop literate youth desperate for change. Needless to say when punk entered the mainstream the cultural and social conditions were such in Ireland that a new generation of kids were perfectly primed to tap into its energies and values.
Focusing on a three year period from 1980 to 1983, Strange Passion is a compilation of rare, unheralded and unreleased Irish music that emerged after the first wave of punk and new wave bands. A time when the raw primitive sounds of punk began to absorb new ideas and technologies and emerging acts were reaching audiences on an unprecedented scale thanks to new magazines such as Hot Press and Heat, RTE Radio 2 and it’s Fanning Sessions, as well as new youth magazine programmes on national TV like Anything Goes. Access to UK’s broadcasting and magazine cultural behemoths (Peel, NME, Morley etc.) as well as touring bands such as The Clash and PIL also played their part in creating an appetite for this thrilling new subculture and soon venues such as The Magnet, Dandelion and Project Arts Centre in Dublin and Kampus in Cork became significant live music hubs.
This was catalysed by new youth scenes which sprung up particularly in the main urban centres of Belfast, Derry, Dublin and Cork. Fuelled by boredom, antipathy towards society and inspired by the developing DIY scene in the UK, new bands, independent labels fanzines and creative art provocateurs began to emerge. Such was the rapid growth and creative freedom of this new culture that for a couple of years there seemed a constant stream of emerging acts producing work that was both original in content and presentation.
Undoubtedly U2 were the breakthrough act from this new generation of acts. However, others such as Virgin Prunes with their Dadist inspired blend of performance art and punk offered a darker vision tapping into the latent energy of their environs which resulted in extraordinary live events and the odd incendiary TV performance. Live legends, The Threat and Chant! Chant! Chant! were gone almost as soon as they arrived but so fully formed were they already that recordings they did leave behind stand as prime examples of post punk music.
Finders Keepers Records are proud to present the first ever compendium of Irish post punk and new wave – featuring extensive liner notes, rare photos with the full participation of the featured artists and bands.