"Sybil", now that's hardly a name that evokes glam pop grandeur is it?
Well, it wasn't until I noticed the name "Regent St Claire" on the back of the disc that I realised this was for real and not some elaborate hoax disc that a mate of mine specialises in (basically he records bands people hate and puts them in sleeves of bands the same people love, and converts them to new stuff that way legendary).
Anyway, "Regent" is something of a hero of mine, with his "Babes in Toyland" album with the legendary "Castle Blak" ranking in my top 20-glam albums of all time, and also one of the main reason I formed my first band way back in 1984. So any album "Regent" has been involved in gets my immediate attention.
The history lesson regarding "Sybil's" jaded past reads like some movie script.
Revered San Francisco powerpop merchants "Head On" splintered in the early eighties to see the individual members influence the formation of latter day bands such as "Jetboy", "Seahags" and "Ruby Slippers". The creative core of "Head On", namely rhythm guitarist "James Ray" meanwhile took a more caustic approach to his newest venture by forming the junky chic, drag queen fucking "Sybil".
Then (and this is the bit I really love), joining James, re-christening himself "Cookie Chunks" were vocalist "Roxy", lead guitarist "Willie Orwonee", bassist "Syb Tybil" and drummer "Pat Pend". Surely some of the best and most ridiculous stage names ever. Once this glorious glam abomination had exposed itself to the world gigging with the likes of "Lords of the New Church" it wasn't long before "Sybil" were ready to commit their sound to Acetate.
So in 1987 "Sybil" released their debut 9 track LP "Every Parents Dream", only for the band to disintegrate in tales of excess and debauchery and for fans to have to make do with worn out bootleg tapes.
Well, that is until last year when fan of the band "Regent" finally made contact with "Ray" and together they secured a release for the album to be released through "Retrospective Records".
And what can I say about
a band that declares itself "Every Parents Dream"? Well, for an album
that I initially thought was a wind up, this is certainly my "Re-release
of the Year" so far by a long mile.
Album opener "Murder on My Mind" spits and snarls, before kicking in on a "Lords" influenced glamtastic chorus that left me after just one listen with my jaw firmly on the floor. Fuck these dudes were some serious rock n rollers. Sadly, the tracks following never really live up to this ultra high standard; if they did I guess "Sybil" would be headlining arenas as we speak.
But that is not to say they are weak, no fucking way. Think back to 1987 and what you and I were listening to rock wise in the UK (most rock bands had names ending in XX for Christ's sake), I can assure you "Sybil" is 1,000 times better than any of those bands.
"I've Been Dreamin" and the wonderfully titled "Too Much Punch For Judy" sound not unlike Willie Dowling and CJ's "Honeycrack" project, whilst "Stop The Show" and "I Wanna Forget You" stomp around in size 10 Stackheels like some bastard offspring of "Sweet" or "Wrathchild". All smudged eyeliner and catsuits, get the picture? If I were to draw one other comparison to a UK band it would be "Pet Hate" who like "Sybil" who were years ahead of their time and deserved so much more.
"Every Parents Dream"
really is quality from start to finish, no duff tracks, and a legendary opener
in the shape of "Murder on My Mind". Buy this and make "Cookie
Chunks" the star he so deserved to be.
4.5 out of 5
by Johnny H.
Visit the Sybil Myspace