The Armoury Show remained largely unheard in their heyday in the mid-1980s, despite featuring several eminent new wave musicians. At the start of that decade, the Dunfermline-born punk band the Skids were coming to natural end, and, after guitarist Stuart Adamson left to form Big Country, singer Richard Jobson and bassist Russell Webb also eventually went in a new direction. Around this time the Manchester-based group Magazine, which had included drummer John Doyle and guitarist John McGeoch, were also dissolving. The latter had also had a stint playing with Siouxsie and the Banshees, and even replaced Adamson briefly in the Skids for a ‘Peel Session’ shortly before they split up in 1981.

Richard Jobson, Russell Webb, McGeogh and Doyle formed the Armoury Show together in 1981, taking their name from a famous 1913 modern art exhibition in New York. Unfortunately they only had a brief existence, but they left us with a gem of a record in the guise of 'Waiting for the Floods', their 1985 one and only album. ‘Waiting for the Floods’ has been recently reissued as a double CD, with the original album on one CD and a second CD full of remixes, 12" versions and other bonus tracks.

There was a real array of talent here and it has that distinctive 80's sound to it. It is packed with various other influences from around that era, but has also a brave unique sound slightly ahead of that time. There are echoes ironically of Adamson's Big Country, but the Armoury Show, while mixing together various other 80’s influences, also had their own sound.

It starts with ‘Castles in Spain’, which recalls the Thompson Twins and upon which Jobson sounds like a male Siouxsie if there could be one. ‘Kyrie’ is an 80's anthem full of Ian McCulloch-sounding vocals and even a touch of Adam and the Ants’ style yelping. ‘A Feeling’ begins with the drum beat to Blondie’s ‘Dreaming’, but soon deviates away into a Jim Kerr-style vocal with guitars which are very reminiscent of the time. The album takes another Bunnymen twist in ‘We Can Be Brave Again’, another masterful anthem which sgues into the very Cure sounding start of ‘Higher Than the World’, which for me, if you listen closely, alo features echoes of Duran Duran.

The title track starts with synth church bells and is yet another example of music of its era, but also has an edge of Jobson and Webb’s former times in the Skids. ‘Sense of Freedom’ and ‘Sleep City Sleep’ nod towards the end of the 80s before we had got there, and take us into the brilliant ‘Avalanche', a slower affair but a track that will make you go into the loft and drag all those old 80's albums back down again. ‘Innocents Abroad’ is another Siouxsie/Bunnymen number. The album then races you through to another excellent head shaker ‘A Gathering’, and then ends with the 7" version of ‘We Can Be Brave Again’, which was released after ‘Castles in Spain' as a single.

The second CD is littered with all sorts of remixed goodies and also smatterings from what would have been the Armoury Show’s second outing before their sad demise.It includes their 1987 last single ‘NY City’ and other treats such as its B-side ‘Whrilwind’

In 1986, after the release of the album and a tour, McGeoch left the band to join Public Image Ltd., while Doyle began to work with Buzzcocks singer/guitarist Pete Shelley. Eventually, when Jobson returned from China, where he had been working as model, he reunited with Webb, calling in Dave Lockwood on guitar and Ray Weston on drums for their next album, but in 1988, however, they announced they had split up.

Much of what would have been their second album was released on Jobson's solo debut album, ‘Badman’. Webb went on to pursue a solo career, and in 1992 followed McGeoch into Public Image. Jobson became latterly a television presenter and now is a film director and producer.

Inside the well-presented booklet that accompanies the reissue, there is an interview with Russell Webb which contains some wonderful insights into the band from the time in which it was active all the way up to the sad death of John McGeoch in his sleep in 2004 at the age of 48. There is a fan’s eye view of the band, and the booklet is lavishly decorated with photos from the era along with full lyrics and a pictorial view of the discography.

If you have just discovered the Armoury Show through the re-release of this album, you will not be disappointed as this is the sound of new wave of the 80s with its many characteristics all rolled into one. Marvellous!











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