Alien Sex Fiend - Fiendology album review

A rewarding retrospective: that’s what fiends are for

Cover art for Alien Sex Fiend - Fiendology album

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Subterraneanly subtitled A 35-Year Trip Through Fiendish History 1982- 2017 A.D. And Beyond, this three-CD set gambols with gothic glee through the career of an undervalued British institution.

As early birds on London’s Batcave scene Alien Sex Fiend are forever portrayed as semi-comic over-the-top goths, tied to the early 80s. It’s partly their own, sporting sense of humour that has allowed others to belittle them, but outside this country’s fashion trends they’ve developed a degree of respect in territories as far-flung as Japan and the US, moving into the industrial and electronica scenes with music which is – in case you haven’t bothered to listen to them since goth’s golden age – surprisingly nimble, witty and muscular.

Their tongue-in-cheek horror imagery adorns extended grooves such as Now Isoftwareuiphraseguid=“cdd5046d-104c-4c0d-938e-5e70141208e0”>SOFTWAREmark” gingersoftwareuiphraseguid=“cfa20502-af01-4c8b-b913-a2a492ac90e6” id=“636068cc-1882-4561-9b74-b00bfb3f4289”>’m Feeling Zombified and I’m softwareuiphraseguid=“cdd5046d-104c-4c0d-938e-5e70141208e0”>SOFTWAREmark” gingersoftwareuiphraseguid=“cfa20502-af01-4c8b-b913-a2a492ac90e6” id=“9843cb73-3e1f-4ca8-b13e-27e4e0a248c4”>Doing Time In A Maximum Security Twilight Zone. These may share vocabulary with The Cramps, but their body language prefers rhythmic dance music to garage rock. Often, produced by Youth, they sound like a smarter Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and claims that they influenced The Prodigy and Sleaford Mods aren’t as daft as you might think.

Kris Needs’s vibrant sleeve notes emphasise that goth clubbing was always as much about fun as frostiness, and this romp through Mr. and Mrs. Fiend’s oeuvre confirms that.

Diehards will enjoy unreleased tracks and mixes (and two teasers from their next album), while those who only pretended to die to look cool at the Batcave will find that resurrecting one’s fondness for this ironic gloom makes deathless sense.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.