In 1984 they released their debut album Age of Consent, a copy of which I found for 95p in a local charity shop several weeks ago.
Age of Consent was the only Bronski Beat album to feature Jimi Somerville before he left to form The Communards in 1985 with Richard Coles (now Reverend Richard Coles).
Its frantic disco and sleek pop vignettes deal with various issues of 80's gay life; predominantly prejudice and homophobia.
In fact the sleeve notes include information on the age of consent for gay men in Europe at the time as well as a 'phone number for a gay legal advice helpline. Jimi's singular voice may put some off but no-one could argue against it's clarity and power, which sets the album apart from its synth-pop contemporaries. It produced the singles "Smalltown Boy", "Why?" and a cover of Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So", the latter featuring a gay male choir, The Pink Singers.
|Bronski Beat - The Age Of Consent (1984)|
My favourite tracks other than the singles are Heatwave, No More War and Junk. The album reached no. 4 in the UK and no.36 in the US, and is being re-issued in a deluxe 2-cd format on the 3rd of July. It will include the remix album Hundreds And Thousands plus other remixes, b-sides etc.
Here's the 1996 re-issue on Spotify: