The Sisters of Mercy
First and Last and Always


5.0
classic

Review

by WilhelmBlack USER (12 Reviews)
September 4th, 2015 | 29 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist

Review Summary: COME HERE I THINK YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL!

1985 was an important year for the development of the so-called "Goth" movement. The Cure added Boris Williams (considered the best drummer The Cure had by many) and Simon Gallup, Robert Smith's yang to his yin. They would go on to release "The Head on the Door", their first taste of commercial success in America. Siouxsie and The Banshees were at the time recording "Tinderbox" considered their finest moment since "Juju", New Order released the follow-up to their magnum opus, the almost equally brilliant album "Low-Life". Bauhaus was disbanded for the time being and would not yet release a terrible reunion album. Daniel Ash, David J, and Kevin Haskins, the original members of Bauhaus went on to make Love and Rockets, the spiritual successor to Bauhaus minus Peter Murphy. What do all of these bands have in common? All of them are considered the forefathers of the so-called goth rock movement that later on influenced the likes of Industrial, Darkwave, and Ambient music to name a few genres. One band that seems to be forgotten or downplayed when the polarizing term "Gothic Rock" is The Sisters of Mercy.

The Sisters of Mercy actually formed around 1976 and was named after a song by Leonard Cohen of the same name. Not the actual sister herself that Leonard Cohen titled the song after. This first incarnation is not responsible for the album "First and Last and Always". Only being Andrew Eldritch and Gary Marx. The band broke-up but reformed in 1981 and lasted until 1985 with the same line-up plus Craig Adams on Bass, Wayne Hussey as an additional guitarist, backup vocals, and the addition of Doktor Avalance, the drum machine Andrew Eldritch was in charge of. The album itself was recorded in 1984 and released in 1985 when this line-up of the band broke-up. What was left in the aftermath is the album "First and Last and Always".

First and Last and Always just like the previous bands mentioned in the introduction is considered a part of the so-called "Dark Culture". The album seems to be reminiscent of Joy Division “Unknown Pleasures” era and The Cure’s gothic trilogy era wordplay. However, most of the songs are traditional chorus-based songs, something that Robert Smith briefly did on Pornography (The Hanging Garden) and would fully utilize on Japanese Whispers and The Top. The theme of these songs on First and Last and Always seem to mostly revolve around the topics of the haunting presence of another, possibly a former lover? (Marian, Possession, First and Last and Always, Nine While Nine and Some Kind of Stranger). A Rock and a Hard Place seem to help strengthen the case of this argument.

"And I didn't have the heart to tell her why."

Who is this her? Is this just another woman in the life of Andrew Eldritch or is it just another song about a breakup? Yet the lyrics of Marian do mention a certain woman, whether this is the actual name of the woman I do not know.

“I hear you calling Marian.”

The way Andrew Eldritch sings these lyrics towards the lower end of his range sends chills down my spine. If the creepy lyrics about a woman metaphorically drowning the lead singer was no enough, a part of the song is sang in German. This part seems to help support the earlier claim about the song seeming to be about a woman metaphorically drowning a man.

Was ich kann und was ich könnte
(What I can do and what I could do)
Weiß ich gar nicht mehr
(I just don't know anymore)
Gib mir wieder etwas Schönes
(Give me something beautiful again)
Zieh mich aus dem Meer
(Drag me from the sea)

The woman is killing the lead singer with her separation from him. That is what the song seems to be about. Marian is the woman lost by the singer.

The overall mood of the album is for the most part melancholy with a few light menacing movements (Marian, Some Kind of Stranger). This contributes to the almost breathtaking atmosphere of the album. It is considered a gem among many who listen to "dark music" because of the atmosphere of the album. It gives off this haunting feeling from the first listen of "Black Planet" up to the last song "Some Kind of Stranger" (my favorite song on the album). Andrew Eldritch's voice sends shivers down your spines when he goes from the lower part of his range up to his highs. The song that best describes what I mean is "Some Kind of Stranger" towards the end of the song.

A noticeable thing about this album is how catchy this album is compared to most of the big four’s early catalog. All songs do have choruses and this is for the most part why the songs are more catchy than the early catalog of the big four of proto-goth because a lot of songs from these bands did not contain choruses (except for maybe Siouxsie and The Banshee and Bauhaus). However, Eldritch would only wrote more catchy material on the next album from The Sisters of Mercy.

Overall, if anyone has any remote interest in moody music, dark music, gothic tendencies of any sorts, give this album a listen. You will mostly not be disappointed by the depressing mood of this album.

5/5



Recent reviews by this author
Cocteau Twins Head Over HeelsCocteau Twins Garlands
The Cure The TopThe Sisters of Mercy Vision Thing
The Sisters of Mercy FloodlandLycia A Day in the Stark Corner
user ratings (191)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
AndreiaSzabo (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
WilhelmBlack
September 3rd 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Some feedback would be nice instead of a thumps down...

Deadsouls96
September 3rd 2015


32 Comments


You need more description of the album itself although you do possess a lot of knowledge about The Sisters of Mercy. I am quite impressed to be honest.

WilhelmBlack
September 3rd 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

At least it is better than the original default review for this album. I am going to rewrite this and add more.

BMDrummer
September 4th 2015


13706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

should check this

BallsToTheWall
September 4th 2015


46399 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agreed.

Digging: The River - Drawing Down the Sun

ShadowRemains
September 4th 2015


23787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

feel the gloooooooooooooooom

InFlamesWeThrash666
September 4th 2015


4802 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album.

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence

Archelirion
September 4th 2015


3815 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Absolute masterpiece of the goth genre.

ComeToDaddy
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2015


1344 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn straight it is.

If you're looking for feedback: the review was really interesting early on - I didn't know much about the band outside of their music, so that was nice, but it's not very descriptive. Certainly not neg-worthy, but it'd pay to focus more on the atmosphere of the album (which is absolutely paramount for a genre like this). "The overall mood of the album is for the most part melancholy with a few light menacing movements" is pretty much the only time you touch on it, yet there's 2 entire paragraphs dedicated to history and background. You also overemphasize the traditional chorus structure, it's not exactly revolutionary and certainly doesn't warrant 6-7 lines talking about it.

One other note, try not to quote huge chunks of lyrical content. You should only use lyrics in your review when it's immediately relevant, and in small portions, otherwise it just seems like unnecessary padding. That's a whole lot of German speech that really didn't need to be there in the middle.

I didn't mean these as scathing criticisms though, your writing is really solid and you seem pretty knowledgeable, just need to work a bit on formatting and descriptions.

Ocean of Noise
September 4th 2015


6439 Comments


I need more goth rock in my life

Digging: Cynthesis - DeEvolution

WilhelmBlack
September 4th 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you for the feedback. I am probably rewriting a huge portion of this review to be honest. I am not very happy with the end-result. However, it is definitely going to look better soon.

ComeToDaddy
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2015


1344 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

For future reference, there's a review proofreading thread in the forum where you can get feedback on your reviews before posting them if you're not quite happy with how they've turned out (:

TheCrocodile
September 4th 2015


2312 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Checked this out last week and it's pretty great. The vox are so deep and gets you in the mood for stuff and shit.

WilhelmBlack
September 4th 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you very much ComeToDaddy. Did you hear that I want your soul?

LordePots
October 10th 2015


30779 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the 80's rocked

Digging: Mike Simonetti - Capricorn Rising

TheCrocodile
October 11th 2015


2312 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think I like this more than any Cure record weird.

WilhelmBlack
October 29th 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That is sad.

InFlamesWeThrash666
November 28th 2015


4802 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Walk Away is a jam

WilhelmBlack
December 3rd 2015


599 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My favorite is "Some Kind of Stranger". My band does a cover of it.

BMDrummer
December 5th 2015


13706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is so much better than i thought it might be based on my skim



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2016 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy