Too readily dismissed as generic late-80s goths, All About Eve achieved heaps more than many of their contemporaries. Their first two albums are now extended reissues, with the emphasis on extended – there are no fewer than 72 tracks across the pair.
Each made the Top 10, and birthed almost as many hits as Thriller. So forget the soppy (biggest hit of all) Martha’s Harbour and those Top Of The Pops technicians who deserved a thumping for embarrassing the band, and rediscover the fascinating fusion of rock, folk, dream-pop and prog whirling around here.
The (mostly) Paul Samwell-Smith-produced self-titled debut (9⁄10) – influenced as much by, say, Jethro Tull as Cocteau Twins – remains a bold statement of intent from an era when indie was getting more cowardly by the day. Its beefed-up Kate Bush muscle may surprise some, but not those who recall the atmosphere of the band’s early gigs.
Julianne Regan leads a quartet big on dynamics through the surge of the then quite contrary Flowers In Our Hair, the 4AD-inflected In The Clouds and the show-stopping, guitar-bending In The Meadow. Among the extras here is their cover of Cliff’s Devil Woman, which rather pops the ‘po-faced goths’ myth.
Follow-up Scarlet And Other Stories (7⁄10) was a pressurised recording, but sustained the balancing act of melodrama, melancholy and momentum. Only obsessives will want every B-side, live track and BBC session included, but by any standards, the original albums – particularly that flushed debut – are still a heady cocktail of romance and reminiscence.