These Immortal Souls
|These Immortal Souls|
|Labels||Mute, SST, Elektra|
|Associated acts||Crime & the City Solution|
These Immortal Souls were an Australian post-punk band formed in West Berlin in 1987 by Harry Howard on bass guitar, his older brother Rowland S. Howard on guitar and vocals, Epic Soundtracks (a.k.a. Kevin Godfrey) on drums (all three ex-Crime & the City Solution) and Genevieve McGuckin on keyboards (Rowland's then-girlfriend). They issued two albums, Get Lost (Don't Lie) 1987 and I'm Never Gonna Die Again 1992. The group relocated to Australia in 1995 and played less frequently before disbanding there in mid-1998. Soundtracks died in November 1997 and Rowland died in December 2009.
Late in 1986 Australian-born brothers Harry on bass guitar and Rowland S. Howard on guitar, and United Kingdom-born Epic Soundtracks (a.k.a. Kevin Godfrey) on drums left the rock group, Crime & the City Solution. With Rowland's then-girlfriend, Genevieve McGuckin on keyboards, Harry, Rowland (on lead vocals and guitar) and Soundtracks formed another rock band, These Immortal Souls, in Berlin in 1987. Rowland explained why he formed the group, "I had lots of songs I really liked... songs that would never have been done if I hadn't said, 'Right, I'm going to sing them,' because you can't give somebody a set of lyrics and tell them what to sing if you want any kind of sincerity." They relocated to London.
The group's debut single, "Marry Me (Lie! Lie!)", was issued in September 1987. Melody Maker's reviewer asked "What possesses Rowland Howard when he writes an immaculate piece of music, something that might have qualified as the score for Romero's next film?... what spirit galvanizes this frail young man to bugger it all up by singing?" and then answered "It's arrogance. Punishable arrogance... in [his] black hole of insensitivity, [he goes] on to ruin the hard work of others." A 12" extended play version, Marry Me, with three tracks was reviewed by AllMusic's Dean McFarlane "while the EP is astonishing, it is merely a hint of what was to come the following year... [it]features a rendition of 'Open up and Bleed' which is so devastating as to justify seeking [it] out."
Their first studio album, Get Lost (Don't Lie!), was released in October of that year on Mute Records. The tracks were mostly written by Rowland. Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, described their material as "dark, ominous, challenging rock music." The group were described by Charles Spano of AllMusic as taking a "wander through the haze of smoky cabarets and faded photos worn at the edges." He felt the album was "Simultaneously rocking, strangely beautiful, and scary, [it] foreshadowed the sound of bands to come over a decade later."
They followed with tours of Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France, Scandinavia, United Kingdom) and a 35-date tour of the United States where the album was released by SST Records. Back in 1982 Howard, McGuckin and US singer, Lydia Lunch, had recorded an album, Honeymoon in Red, which was released on Lunch's Widowspeak label in 1987. They had originally used Rowland's former band mates from the Birthday Party: Nick Cave, Mick Harvey and Tracy Pew, as well as Thurston Moore (from Sonic Youth). These Immortal Souls undertook a short tour of Australia in 1988.
In 1991 Rowland and Lunch released an album, Shotgun Wedding, and toured with a live band that included his brother Harry, and Chris Hughes. In 1992 These Immortal Souls issued a single "King of Kalifornia" (also as a 12" EP, King of Kalifornia) and, in October, their second album, I'm Never Gonna Die Again, which was co-produced by the group with John Rivers. By that time Soundtracks was working on his solo music career and had left the group. AllMusic's Nitsuh Abebe declared the album was "a well-handled and incredibly dramatic record that attacks with full rock force, recedes into minimal, haunting constructions, and then blasts back."
Craig Williamson joined on drums and Spencer P. Jones as second guitarist. This line-up recorded a track, "You Can't Unring a Bell", for a Tom Waits tribute album, Step Right Up in 1994. Other artists on that album are Pete Shelley, Tim Buckley, Violent Femmes and 10,000 Maniacs. Later Jones left the group. Harry, Genevieve and Rowland returned to Australia in 1995, where they occasionally performed. The band's final show was at the Greyhound Hotel, St Kilda on 23 July 1998, with Lydia Lunch & Hungry Ghosts as support. Two music videos have been broadcast on ABC TV's rage: "Marry Me (Lie! Lie!)" and "King of Kalifornia".
Kevin Godfrey a.k.a. Epic Soundtracks was found dead in his London apartment on 5 November 1997; his cause of death was not identified, despite an autopsy. Rowland S. Howard died of liver cancer on 30 December 2009.
- Get Lost (Don't Lie) (October 1987), Mute - UK Indie no. 21
- I'm Never Gonna Die Again (1992), Mute
- Marry Me (Lie! Lie!) (1987), Mute - UK Indie no. 22
- King Of Kalifornia (1992), Mute
- McFarlane, 'Crime & the City Solution' entry. Archived from the original on 16 June 2004. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Holmgren, Magnus. "These Immortal Soul". hem.passagen.se. Australian Rock Database. (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 1 March 2004. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Huey, Steve. "These Immortal Souls | Biography & History". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "These Immortal Souls". Mute Records. Archived from the original on 15 February 2004. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "Flowers, Ambition and Ian Botham: These Immortal Souls – 'Marry Me (Lie! Lie!)'". Melody Maker. Rowland S. Howard Website: Outta the Black. 12 September 1987. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- McFarlane, Dean. "Marry Me – These Immortal Souls". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "'Marry Me' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 7 November 2015. Note: User may have to click "Search again" and provide details at "Enter a title:" e.g. Marry Me; or at "Performer:" These Immortal Souls
- Spano, Charles. "Get Lost (Don't Lie!) – These Immortal Souls". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- Huey, Steve. "Epic Soundtracks | Biography & History". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- Adebe, Nitsuh. "I'm Never Gonna Die Again – These Immortal Souls". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- Smith, Roger (3 August 1998). "Last ever These Immortal Souls Concert at Greyhound Hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne on July 23, 1998". Collector's Hell. Archived from the original on 31 October 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- Perrone, Pierre (23 October 2011). "Obituary: Epic Soundtracks". The Independent. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- Duguid, Alexandra (8 January 2010). "In Memoriam: Rowland S Howard (1959 – 2009)". the AU review. Heath Media. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980–1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p. 229