The Passions – ‘Sanctuary’ US CD (Rubellan Remasters, RUBY08CD, 2019)

The wonderful ongoing series of releases from Rubellan Remasters continues in fine style  with a long hoped for first time to CD edition of the third and final album from The Passions, ‘Sanctuary’. Truth be told, I had long given up hope of this extremely fine album by the band ever seeing light of day again – so, I was well please when I heard the news it was to be released at long last. And being a Rubellan Remaster, quality is a given, from the audio remastering by Scott Davies, through to the selection of tracks the release includes.

The Passions - Sanctuary CD front cover design

^ The Passions – Sanctuary CD front cover design

The Passions are of course known primarily for their one major hit single of early 1981, ‘I’m In Love With a German Film Star’. However, their sound that was to be found on that single and subsequent releases was a world away from how it all sounded on their very first single, ‘Needles and Pills’/’Body and Soul’. It is near unrecognisable, ‘Needles and Pills’ in particular, most prominently through the vocals of one Mitch Barker and no sign at all of the wonderful, Echoplex guitar tones that would become Clive Timperley’s trademark. However, other than Mitch Barker, who would only appear on this single, the rest of the line-up is there that would go on to make the band’s debut LP, ‘Michael and Miranda’. It’s an LP where the monochrome cover matches the edgy, fidgety music within. Their unique sound was there though even if somewhat sullen in parts and sometime afterwards, the band set their sights on a fuller, more colourful palette starting with the single ‘The Swimmer’ in late 1980, before the full-on mysterious, dreamlike lush panorama that ‘I’m In Love With a German Film Star’ would present. Both of these songs would eventually appear on the full colour production that comprised their second album, ‘Thirty Thousand Feet Over China’ in late 1981.

The Passions - Sanctuary CD insert rear cover designfeaturing the alternative 'Cars Driven Fast' design.

^ The Passions – Sanctuary CD insert rear cover design featuring the alternative ‘Cars Driven Fast’ design.

Half of the tracks from ‘Sanctuary’ had been included on the compilation album ‘Passion Plays (I’m In Love With a German Film Star and Other Short Stories)’, first released on vinyl back in 1985. The equivalent CD version appeared a whole decade later, bringing at least half of the album to CD format. Who knew how long it would be for the remaining tracks to join them on the small silver disc format… As well as accurately restoring the original album, this CD is a very comprehensive gathering together of the recordings of the period courtesy of B sides and non-album single of the period (‘Africa Mine’).

The Passions - Sanctuary CD insert middle spread.

^ The Passions – Sanctuary CD insert middle spread.

A nice four part write-up of the album and its bonus tracks can be found on Post Punk Monk excellent blog, so I shall direct you there to read a thorough exploration of the album’s tracks.

The Passions - Sanctuary CD label design.

^ The Passions – Sanctuary CD label design.

At the time of its release, the record had had a different title, ‘Cars Driven Fast’, and some territories released it this way. The CD re-issue has a nice touch of replicating the (very different) front cover design of that version, so you can take your pick if you fancy slotting that version into the jewel case for a different feel.

The Passions - Sanctuary CD rear case design.

^ The Passions – Sanctuary CD rear case design.

The Passions - Sanctuary CD tray design.

^ The Passions – Sanctuary CD tray design.

No mention of The Passions can go by without also referring to the wonderful Rock Family Tree of October 1982 that I first read in Sounds magazine. I reproduce it here, albeit rough quality – dig in and read the fascinating history…

Scan of the Rock Family Tree for The Passions, creates October 1982 by Pete Frame.

^ Scan of the Rock Family Tree for The Passions, creates October 1982 by Pete Frame.

2 Responses to “The Passions – ‘Sanctuary’ US CD (Rubellan Remasters, RUBY08CD, 2019)”

  1. Thanks for the shoutout as well as the Pete Frame Rock Family Tree®! We used to get those published in America in Trouser Press from time to time. I just came by to see what was the latest as I’ve been a bit swamped lately. Rubellan Remasters have done it again. I’m basically buying their discs in multiple copies since the end result is always so great I end up giving them as gifts year round. Getting CD reissues done right is like swimming upstream while handcuffed so I’m thrilled that Mr. Davies is willing to do it for his supa-fine reissue label. I like making my own CD-Rs [taken as far up the evolutionary scale as I can] but would never consider shouldering all of that effort and heartbreak to do it commercially.

  2. admin says:

    He is doing a great job on the reissues – this album was a particular joy since I had given up hope in it seeing light of day on CD – I’m looking forward to what other obscure delights may appear in future. The rights/permissions area seems to be a particular minefield, varying from label to label.

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