Vision Thing (album)

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Vision Thing
The Sisters of Mercy - Vision Thing cover.jpg
Studio album by The Sisters of Mercy
Released 13 November 1990
Recorded Puk Recording Studios, Gjerlev, Denmark
Genre Gothic rock, post-punk, hard rock[citation needed]
Length 42:35
Label Merciful Release/EastWest
The Sisters of Mercy chronology
Vision Thing
Some Girls Wander by Mistake
Singles from Vision Thing
  1. "More"
    Released: 1 October 1990
  2. "Doctor Jeep"
    Released: December 1990
  3. "Detonation Boulevard"
    Released: 1990 (US radio single)
  4. "When You Don't See Me (Remix)"
    Released: February 1991 (Germany only)
  5. "Vision Thing (Canadian club remix)"
    Released: 1991 (Club single)
  6. "I Was Wrong (American fade)"
    Released: 1991 (US radio single)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[1]
AllMusic (reissue edition) 2/5 stars
Classic Rock 8/10 stars[2]
Q favourable[3]

Vision Thing is the third and, to date, final studio album by British gothic rock band The Sisters of Mercy, released in November 1990 on the band's own label Merciful Release.


Soon after the release of the band's previous album, Floodland, Eldritch approached guitarist John Perry to join them on writing a new album. After Perry turned down the offer to become a full-time member, the band began to search for a new guitarist through their record label. Eventually, Eldritch was forwarded a demo tape by young and unknown Andreas Bruhn. Bruhn was called to audition a week after turning in his tape.[4]

As the band—now composed of Eldritch, Bruhn and bassist Patricia Morrison—was about to enter the studio, Morrison was abruptly replaced by the former Sigue Sigue Sputnik member Tony James. As Perry recalls, "When I first heard the Vision Thing material, Patricia was there; when I did the album, she wasn't."[5] While details on Morrison parting ways with the band have never been fully disclosed, she herself was allegedly hired by Eldritch on the day her predecessor, Craig Adams, resigned.[6]

Morrison later confirmed to have worked with Eldritch up until December 1989. She would go on to say her resignation was linked to her monthly salary of £300, and that she had her doubts on the band's musical direction. "I wasn't too thrilled with the direction the record was going in. There were elements I didn't like that could have gone either way, and now that Tony James is in I want nothing to do with it. It seems obvious what's going on – it's scam time..."[7]

While Morrison's recording input on the band's previous album, Floodland, has oft been contested, Perry raised doubts whether either she or James play on Vision Thing. "By the time of the recording, Tony James was in, but I'm not sure either [he or Patricia] actually played any bass on the record – sounds sequenced to me."[5] James has later admitted his parts took some twenty minutes in total to record.[8]

Ultimately, the band spent nine months in the Danish recording facilities, with guitarist Tim Bricheno recruited during the final two weeks.[4] Then-manager Boyd Steemson followed suit at one point to observe the progress. "I remember flying out to the [Puk] studio when they were making Vision Thing, and Tony [James] spoke to me and said: 'Well, I guess it's going to be a five-song album.' And I said, 'No, it will not be a five-song album.' Two days later they had seven-and-a-half songs. It was a very painful process." [5]

According to the official website of the band, the final mixes were not the ones worked on the most. "'Vision Thing' is a stripped-down affair. Half of the finished mixes for the album are shelved in favour of rough mixes from earlier stages of the recording session, 'monitor mixes' which retain the immediate feel of the songs." [9]


The album was designed by songwriter and singer Andrew Eldritch as an attack on the policies of the George H. W. Bush administration (the title comes from an oft-cited quote by Bush).[10]

It appears the majority of tracks on the album are based on the original demos, Eldritch being unhappy with the mixed versions and going back to basics.[citation needed]


Described by Andrew Eldritch as "a fine album",[11] it was included by Q magazine in their "Fifty Best Albums of 1990" list. In 1999, Ned Raggett ranked the album at number 69 on his list of "The Top 136 or So Albums of the Nineties".[12]

Track listing[edit]

All songs produced by Eldritch except "More", produced by Eldritch and Jim Steinman, and "When You Don't See Me", produced by Chris Tsangarides.

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Vision Thing" Andrew Eldritch Eldritch 4:35
2. "Ribbons" Eldritch Eldritch 5:25
3. "Detonation Boulevard" Andreas Bruhn, Eldritch Bruhn, Eldritch 3:52
4. "Something Fast" Eldritch Eldritch 4:36
5. "When You Don't See Me" Eldritch Bruhn, Eldritch 4:47
6. "Doctor Jeep" Eldritch Bruhn, Eldritch 4:41
7. "More" Eldritch, Jim Steinman Eldritch, Steinman 8:21
8. "I Was Wrong" Eldritch Eldritch 6:03
Total length: 42:35

2006 Re-issue[edit]

Along with the group's previous two releases, Vision Thing was re-issued in November 2006 with bonus tracks, which, listed as follows:

No. Title Lyrics Music Original Single Length
9. "You Could Be the One" Eldritch Bruhn "More" 4:01
10. "When You Don't See Me (remix)" Eldritch Bruhn, Eldritch "When you don't see me (remix)" 4:43
11. "Doctor Jeep (Extended mix)" Eldritch Bruhn, Eldritch "Doctor Jeep 12"" 8:59
12. "Ribbons (live)" Eldritch Eldritch "When You Don't See Me (remix) 12"" 4:25
13. "Something Fast (live)" Eldritch Eldritch "When You Don't See Me (remix) 12"" 3:02
Total length: 64:32


Guest musicians
  • John Perry – guitar, slide guitar on "Detonation Boulevard"
  • Maggie Reilly – backing vocals on "Vision Thing", "More", "Detonation Boulevard", "Something Fast", and "Doctor Jeep"


  1. ^ link
  2. ^ Sleazegrinder (December 2006). "The Sisters of Mercy Reissues". Classic Rock. p. 101. 
  3. ^ link
  4. ^ a b "Heartland Interview with Andreas Bruhn", Heartland, retrieved 4 June 2010.[1]
  5. ^ a b c "The Sisterhood", Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007.
  6. ^ "The Sisters of Mercy – A brief(ish) history", Glasperlenspiel, retrieved 4 June 2010.[2]
  7. ^ "It's scam time", Sounds January 1990, retrieved 7 Jan 2012
  8. ^ "Heartland Interview with Tony James", Heartland, retrieved 4 Jun 2010
  9. ^ The Official Website of The Sisters of Mercy, retrieved 22 Aug 2010
  10. ^ "Vision Thing", Oxford Dictionaries, retrieved 21 May 2003
  11. ^ "Sisters Discography". Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 January 2000. Retrieved 28 September 2011.