Great lost bands no.6: Bark Psychosis

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Not so much a case of a "great lost band", but more a case of "great band gone missing, last seen 2005".
Bark Psychosis were a London based band who were active between 1986 and 1994, although they issued their long delayed third album in 2004 and they are officially still a going concern. I didn't realise this until I was doing my homework and I checked their wikipedia entry
That entry is pretty conclusive so I'll just add my own personal experiences of Bark Psychosis. I wasn't that aware of their first few releases, but in retrospect they stand up as a fine bunch of EPs and singles, collected together as the album Independency, which was confusingly issued not long after their major label debut Hex.

The band's history is riddled with record company woes and hassles. I became aware of them during the period around 1991-92 when they released two amazing singles, 'Manman' and 'Scum', which pretty much cemented their status as one of the founders of what became known as post-rock.


If 'Manman' gathered some buzz and some radio play for them, the follow-up single, the uncompromising 21-minute long 'Scum' was hailed by critics as a masterpiece but it was difficult for people to hear, as its length and extreme dynamic range effectively ruled out radio play. It was recorded from improvisations in the band's rehearsal space underneath St John's Church in east London and still stands up as a beautiful and timeless piece of work, which ultimately comes from the same place as late-period Talk Talk.


Fans will argue whether 'Scum' or the subsequent album 'Hex' was their masterpiece, and it's hard to split the two. 'Hex' was recorded in the same church and sounds very similar, and it sustains it's brilliance over 7 tracks, whereas 'Scum' is a single 21 minute piece.
I was fortunate to interview the band around the time 'Hex' was released, and you can read the results here. In Simon Reynolds revie of the album for Mojo, he coined the phrase post-rock, and that was that.

Absent Friend

The pressures on the band during the recording of 'Hex' took their toll, and after one more single 'Blue', which touched on more danceable elements within their sound, the band split. Main member Graham Sutton began to release drum and bass singles under the name Boymerang, and has worked successfully as a record producer with the likes of Jarvis Cocker and British Sea Power.
In 2004 a long awaited follow-up to 'Hex' emerged under the Bark Psychosis name, entitled 'Codename: Dustsucker'. It was a major progression in sound, and came across more as a Graham Sutton project with diverse collaborators, but there was enough of a connection with previous Bark Psychosis releases to please old fans. Fortunately it was also very, very good.

Burning the City

previous Great Lost Bands
No. 5: A.R.Kane
No. 4: Loop
No. 3: Bongwater
No. 2: Prolapse
No. 1: Bowery Electric

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