The Homosexuals created a musical world of their own. Holed up in no-rent studios and squats, they mined every genre from psych-folk and Afrobeat to punk and dub, added killer hooks, then exuberantly tore it all apart. They wrote and recorded for five years, but they never took out an advert, sent out a promotional record, or got paid for a gig. The legend has grown, and today the Homosexuals are arguably the most acclaimed-and-least-heard band of the postpunk era. After more than a year of research and restoration, a hundred hours of conversations with band-members, and endless surprises, the story of The Homosexuals can now be told. Astral Glamour gathers 81 songs and three-plus hours of legendary 1977-1983 artpunk -- every Homosexuals song from their records and the C-60, plus a dozen other tracks never released anywhere before. Astral Glamour also features a full-colour 32-page booklet with scores of unpublished photographs, posters, lyrics, song-by-song comments and an extensive history of their early years.
The Homosexuals led a strange, short existence in late '70s England, shrouded in myth and rumor. They left behind a mishmash of intriguing but difficult-to-find releases, a mysterious trail of solo projects with weird names like Sara Goes Pop, Nancy Sesay and the Melodaires, and George Harassment. In short, they were the perfect cult band. Earlier this year, ReR Megacorp released a tantalizing taste of the Homosexuals' enigmatic output with The Homosexuals' CD—a fine sampler that was nevertheless frustrating in its incompleteness.
That's more than rectified by the gorgeously packaged three-CD Astral Glamour, which collects every last snippet of the band's material, along with pages upon pages of obsessively researched liner notes. The great revelation: The mysterious Homosexuals weren't all that mysterious. Their best songs—"Soft South Africans," "Neutron Lover," "Astral Glamour"—were crunchy sing-along power-punk ditties. The endearingly cryptic lyrics, mostly sung by weirdo vocalist L'Voag, don't really add up (e.g., "Global pupils radiating interference/ PICASSO!"), but the music makes perfect sense: At their best, they were like a fancier British version of Cheap Trick.
This is music you can air guitar to. But the Homosexuals could barely hold the attention of their own band long enough to keep "record" pressed down for more than two minutes. There are a lot of half-finished idea fragments on Astral Glamour—bizarro segues, bogus 45-second instrumentals like "Magic Moment Part 2," baffling experimental interludes like "There Are Shy Moons." But that's part of the Homosexuals' charm. - Seattle Weekly