I wish to bring to your attention a band relatively ignored but one which many of you will become disciples after hearing this 2018 release
Mark Long originally formed The Opposition in London in 1979 as a 4 piece band where they recorded one album which remained unreleased. Influenced by the post punk period after seeing The Cure on their Faith tour the band soaked up the influences of this period plus others and eventually released ‘Breaking the Silence in 1981’ with a 3 man line up consisting of Mark Long (guitar and vocals), Marcus Bell (Bass) and Ralph Hall (drums). Song titles such as,’Paddy Fields’ ‘War Games’ and ‘Black and White’ display an impressive and highly unique band with big issues pressed onto black vinyl. A dark record dealing with many emotive and powerful subjects it impressed greatly on this particular music fan and many more like me in France and in Poland.
Followed in 1982 by ‘Intimacy’ continuing with more dark and human issues close to Mark’s heart with titles such as ‘In the Heart’, ‘Voice Has Changed’ and ‘New Homes’ it is a fantastic record. A lot of gigs around that period in London and in Europe to help promote the band sees them develop into an impressive and awesome live band and leads to a record deal with Charisma Records who release ‘Promises’ their follow up album in 1984. A slightly more commercial record with titles such as ‘ Innocent’,’Factory Gate’ and ‘Stranded’ brought them an even bigger fan base in Europe but unfortunately for them not on their home turf of the UK. England is generally motivated by fashion and they already had their successful 3 piece in The Police.
The Opposition actually incorporated elements of The Police, The Cure and also Peter Gabriel solo albums, especially his 3rd (Melt) and 4th (Security) into their sound. If I were to try to describe their music to someone this is it but of course they are so much more than that and encompass an honesty and uniqueness to their sound I cannot put into words, just go listen to them.
A higher profile brought about by heavy touring and their last album ‘Promises’ saw the band sign to Virgin Records and the release in 1985 of ‘Empire Days’ which is an album full of Opposition classics and again more of a step away from previous albums and a maturity of sound and a confidence obviously brought to the studio through touring. Disappointed by the lack of success by this point Marcus and Mark put together ‘So’ in 1988 and signed to Parlophone in the UK. MTV brought a successful release in the single ‘Are You Sure’ but unfortunately world domination still eluded them and they remained a well kept secret throughout the music world.
Next Opposition release 5 years later was ‘Blue Alice Blue’ released in France and Poland only on their own label and is a beautiful album with a commercial sheen and a lightness and an optimism which you won’t hear on the previous releases. Similar styles and sound on the next release ‘War Begins at Home’ in 1993 again saw a release of great songs but still little adulation. A parting of the ways was imminent.
Then sad news came of Marcus Bell’s death in 2014. To process their grief at the passing of their old friend Ralph Hall and Mark Long reconvened to play music and put out another record and it happened very quickly and is up there with their most impressive work.
Fast forward to 2018 and a brand new lineup, back to a 4 piece again with Mark Long (Guitar and Vocals), Bernard Husbands (Bass) David Beckett (Drums) and Nico Watts (Guitar and Keyboards).To try to describe this album simply is to say it encompasses everything to date that is great about this band, the darkness and the light originally separated on earlier releases and sticks them altogether on one album to create one Opposition sound. The flanged/fretless bass is still there plus Mark’s voice is still melodic and wanting with chorus soaked guitars carrying that post punk sound forward to today. Reminiscent of The Sound and Comsat Angels in places which is never a bad thing.
A fantastic and mature rock record with huge angst ridden choruses and dark subjects such as ‘Slipping in the Water’ are still there plus ‘The Mess You Made’ and ‘I Want to Believe’ are standout singles if singles still mattered.
I wish to bring to your attention a band relatively ignored by the rest of the world apart from France and Poland but one which many of you will become disciples after hearing this 2018 release or any of their back catalogue, available from the band’s official website (www.opposition.band) and through ‘Play It Again Sam Records as are their other albums with the first 3 now digitally remastered and sounding even better than they did back in the day.
A handle of dates in 2019 and late 2018 mainly in France and Poland so far plus I have been informed that post COVID19 Lockdown more dates are imminent plus also the next Opposition release which I am really looking forward to hearing and reviewing for you all. So do yourself a favour and head off to their official website and see what you have been missing.