C86 Show - Indie Pop

Sad Lovers and Giants with Simon Allard

March 12, 2020

Sad Lovers and Giants with Simon Allard in conversation with David Eastaugh 

The original lineup included vocalist Garçe (Simon) Allard, guitarist Tristan Garel-Funk, bassist Cliff Silver, drummer Nigel Pollard and keyboardist/saxophonist David Wood.

Following their debut EP Clé and the "Colourless Dream" single, both issued in 1981, they released their debut studio album, Epic Garden Music in 1982. It reached No. 21 in the UK Independent Albums Chart.

During this initial period they recorded a John Peel Session for the BBC, and a live concert for Radio Netherlands Worldwide in 1983 (later released as the album Total Sound in 1986).Live performances included headline dates at UK colleges and clubs with occasional trips to Europe, although they did support the Sound at a major London venue on the day Epic Garden Music entered the charts. The singles "Lost in a Moment" (1982) and "Man of Straw" (1983) both made the UK Independent Singles Chart, reaching No. 48 and No. 31, respectively.

European interest in the band grew, and with the 1983 release of second album Feeding the Flame , they toured Germany and the Netherlands, gaining a dedicated fanbase. Tensions within the band caused a split, with Garel-Funk and Pollard leaving to form the Snake Corps.

During a hiatus, their label Midnight Music released the In the Breeze collection in 1984, which included one of their previously unreleased signature tunes, "Three Lines".

SLAG returned in 1987 with an updated lineup including original members Allard and Pollard along with newcomers Tony McGuinness (guitar), Juliet Sainsbury (keyboards) and Ian Gibson (bass), releasing a new album that year, The Mirror Test.

As interest abroad grew, the band performed extensively in the Netherlands, Spain and France, and headlined at the Marquee Club in London. Original bassist Silver returned, replacing Gibson, and they released a fourth studio album, Headland, in 1990.

After the 1991 release of Treehouse Poetry, Midnight Music folded and the band split once again, coming together occasionally for gigs supporting And Also the Trees at London's Marquee Club and Electric Ballroom.

E-mail from Eternity, a best-of compilation, was released by the record label Cherry Red in 1996 after the company picked up the Midnight catalogue.

In 2000, McGuinness formed progressive trance trio Above & Beyond with Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamäki, also initiating his electronic dance music labels Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep.

In 2002, Sad Lovers & Giants released their sixth album, Melting in the Fullness of Time on Voight-Kampff Records, recorded predominantly by Allard and McGuinness with studio contributions from Sainsbury, Snake Corps bassist Liam McGuinness, drummer Kevin Mathews, and two members of Lovebabies, vocalist Jenny Clark and guitarist Bob Bradley. They played two dates in Italy a year later.

Another reformed lineup (Allard, McGuinness, Pollard, Gibson) played in Italy and Greece in April 2009, coinciding with Cherry Red's rereleases of Feeding the Flame and Epic Garden Music. Keyboardist Will Hicks joined later in 2009.

During 2010, the band played a handful of live dates in Athens and Barcelona (supported by the Snake Corps and the Essence, both previous Midnight bands), reissued The Mirror Test, and recorded a new 7" double A-side single, "Himalaya". They played at the Purple Turtle in Camden in December 2011, which was their first London gig since the early 1990s. In 2012, they played gigs in Berlin and Salerno and began writing and recording new material for a future album.

An extensive interview feature on SLAG appeared in the autumn 2013 and spring 2014 issues of music magazine The Big Takeover.

In 2014, frontman Allard published an autobiography of the band, Things We Never Did – The Story of Sad Lovers & Giants.

In March 2016, Sad Lovers & Giants embarked on a short tour of North America, performing mainly on the West Coast. They made their U.S. live debut at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

In 2017, Cherry Red issued a five-disc retrospective box set, Where the Light Shines Through 1981-2017.

On 31 October 2018, the band released their seventh studio album and first in 16 years, Mission Creep.

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