B-Movie – Climate of Fear (Album Review)

B-Movie – Climate of Fear (Album Review)

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Fans of Post-Punk and New Wave music will most likely be familiar with the English band B-Movie primarily for the songs “Nowhere Girl,” “Remembrance Day,” and “A Letter from Afar,” which enjoyed regular radio airplay in the 1980s, during the genre’s’ heyday. Unluckily, B-Movie got to release only one full-length album, 1985’s Forever Running, and then the band broke up, its members consequently pursuing individual endeavors. Because of this, B-Movie did not reach the same level of success and popularity achieved by the likes of The Cure, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and Tears for Fears, whose respective musical styles belong to the same sonic spectrum. And then, in 2004, nearly twenty years after the band’s demise, the original lineup of Steve Hovington (vocals, bass), Paul Statham (guitars), Graham Boffey (drums), and Rick Holliday (keyboards) reunited to play some one-off shows. The quartet took almost another decade before they were able to release a new album, 2013’s The Age of Illusion. Fortunately, the follow-up to this was swift and consistent; on March 17, 2016, B-Movie unleashes another solid and proud throwback to the band’s trademark sound.

Entitled Climate of Fear, B-Movie’s latest offering will not disappoint, especially those who missed them. It certainly carries the characteristics that the band and the genre Post-Punk itself have been known for – less-complex song structures, trebley Joy Division-type rolling basslines, angular rhythm guitar strums, flanger-drenched guitar adlibs, minimal but melodic icy Kraftwerkian synthesizer parts, Bowie-esque baritone vocal styling, and romantically dark lyrics.

Climate of Fear opens with the sinister-sounding “Another False Dawn,” whose driving bassline and scaling synth melody may remind the initiated of the Gothic sound of the Post-Punk pioneer Joy Division (“Transmission”), early Modern English (“Move in Light”), and the iciness of later A Flock of Seagulls (“Rainfall”). The retrospective and nostalgic mood continues on to “Come Closer,” which will seamlessly fit on a playlist that includes “I’ll Always Be Grateful” by A House, “Shine On” by The House of Love, and “Skyscrapers of St. Mirin” by The Close Lobsters. And then there is the jazzy “San Francisco,” featuring an intricate piano adlib and vocal melody reminiscent of Echo & the Bunnymen’s “Do It Clean.” The ensuing “Corridors” sounds like an extension of the previous track, maintaining the head-bobbing beat. The spirit then transubstantiates to something wistful as the piano-led “Forgotten Souls” enters as a slow ballad, only to revert to the same upbeat tempo and then finish the way it started.

The title track is certainly the album’s rocking moment – edgy, sharp, and ominous, effectively punctuated by symphonic drum-and-bass shots and veiled with ghostly keyboard melodies. The mood flows flawlessly into “A Girl and a Gun,” whose broken-chord guitar plucks and harmonics and pounding beat align it with the earlier songs of another much-missed English band, The Bolshoi (“A Way”). The structural drama builds up with the penultimate track – the slow, hypnotic, and progressively arranged “The Remnants.” Finally, the album closes with the lyrically declarative “Feeling Gothic,” whose interplay of choppiness and danceability is an obvious homage to the band’s glorious past, exuding a whiff of “Switch On, Switch Off,” B-Movie’s perhaps catchiest and most-loved single.

It may have failed in its heyday to walk the red carpet of New Wave and Post-Punk A-listers, but B-Movie can definitely wave high its cult-status flag, alongside equally lesser-known bands such as The Wild Swans (“Bringing Home the Ashes”), The Lotus Eaters (“German Girl”), and The Pale Fountains (“…From across the Kitchen Table”), all of which got to release only a couple of albums but have long become more legendary than their mainstream-breaking contemporaries. CrypticRock gives B-Movie’s Climate of Fear 4 out of 5 stars.


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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

  • Mae Angel
    Posted at 09:53h, 30 July Reply

    love the info you are always given…more power sir

  • Alfie Mella
    Posted at 01:54h, 03 August Reply

    Thanks, Mae, for taking the time to read this album review.


  • matt
    Posted at 03:07h, 15 August Reply

    what a great review for a great album b-movie are a talented very talented band theat deserve the recognition this album must surely give them lets hope the blind at the major radio stations dont let this one slip through their incompetent fingers play the album for gods sake

  • aLfie vera mella
    Posted at 14:00h, 15 August Reply

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this review and for finding it a good read. You inspired me to continue writing this way.

    Yes, you are right. So many albums from classic bands like B-Movie deserve better and more attention than they could get. These are bands that create music and express emotions with so much passion and conviction.

    Let’s hope for their music to gain wider audience in this time and age.


  • Noel Abbott
    Posted at 23:04h, 05 May Reply

    Only just discovered this album having been a huge closet fan in the 80’s. From the Some Bizarre album, through to epic John Peel sessions which I recorded to tapes and eventually ruined through over-playing. Then discovered BBC made them available on CD. The Promised Lad remains one of my all time favourite songs. This album is awesome with catchy and memorable tracks throughout. My mission is to see them live next. This is an excellent review, by the way!

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