Bands we miss – Book of Love

I never liked the “where are they now?” mantra we hear so often about artists we may hadn’t thought about or heard from in a while. It’s always said with a dollop of condescension and a sneer. That said, I have been listening to a lot of older electronic albums lately and it’s made me realize there are a lot of bands I genuinely miss and wish were still recording. I will post on a few such bands that are top of mind starting with one of my favourite bands of the late 80s, Book of Love.

New York’s Book of Love released four albums between 1985 and 1991, Book of Love, Lullaby, Candy Carol and Lovebubble. Modeled on the Depeche Mode formula (they opened for DM on two tours) of singer + three keyboard players, they were a performance-based, art-school influenced (if sometimes pretentious), and often super-gay electronic pop band that benefited from Ted Ottaviano’s exceptional songwriting skills. They started with a darker hue than they eventually developed, taking a cute gimmick (a sing-songy, playful childlike motif) much much too far until they were a twee caricature of themselves.

But in their day they produced a faithful, straight-ahead electro pop with a purity we rarely see these days. Particularly strong on the Lullaby album with great songs like the AIDS-ode “Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls”, their take on Exorcist theme, “Tubular Bells”, “Bewitched” ode, “Witchcraft”, and “Oranges and Lemons”, they could push out quality electro pop product with ease and were much overlooked in their day which is a shame. Even at the end, with the uneven, and two-cute-by-half Lovebubble album they managed to produce a kick-ass version of Bowie’s “Sound and Vision”, “Enchanted” and the stellar “Salve My Soul”. All the way through (up to and including a best-of collection released a few years ago with two new songs that remind of us what they capable of had they stayed together) they gave good product.

With Ottaviano producing now, and the rest scattered to the winds (messages sent to Ottaviano and band management were not returned), it doesn’t seem likely any kind of reunion is in the offing, and maybe it’s for the best. Maybe a band so much “of” the 80s is best left there along with our memories.

But I miss them still.

(Who do you miss? What bands went away before their time? Add your 2¢…)

Watch: You Make Me Feel So Good (poor quality) –


One Response to “Bands we miss – Book of Love”

  1. Late respponse, I know. But Book of Love is one of the band’s I most miss as well. I think they started off at their strongest–the eponymous album hardly misses a single beat at all, whereas with Lullaby they had a few of their best single tracks, but the “twee caricature of themselves” that you reference was already starting to rear its head a bit. That said; is it possible to miss someone who’s not gone, but who has changed their format too much to be recognizable anymore? I really miss the dark, cyberpunk kind of vibe that very early solo John Foxx and Gary Numan had that, really–nobody does anymore. Sure, it sounds a little like an artifact of the transition from the 70s to 80s, and the concerns that pop culture had at the time, but it’s also something very unique that you just can’t find anywhere anymore.

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