Under Appreciated Band of the Week -China Crisis (part 1 1981-1983)

The lovable Liverpool lads who created exotic visionary pop

If you wanted to get away from it all in the 80s there was no better way than throwing on a pair of good headphones and cranking up the wonderful sounds of China Crisis. Although they were borne out of a creative sphere that included the likes of Echo & the Bunnyman, OMD and Teardrop Explodes, China Crisis were a decidedly different cup of tea from the start


‘African & White’ was their debut hit, reaching #45 in the UK in1981 on the small record labe named Inevitable (it was issued in the US in 1982 on Epic Records). ‘African & White’ had a likable feel to it- its’ lyrics were not obvious and its’ music a soft melodic feel that was not quite identifiable. Naturally they became a favourite of the odd and enigmatic UK DJ Jon Peel– who set about recording them in 1982 for his radio program.

By the end of ’82 as many of their contemporaries were starting to sell a ton of records in the US and around the world China Crisis scored their first Top 20 hit in the UK with the haunting ‘Christian’ which peaked at #12. China Crisis’ debut album ‘Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhytms, Some People Think It’s Fun to Entertain’ was also a sizable UK hit and was awarded a Silver Disc award after hitting #21 on the UK LP charts in 1983.
Daly and Lundon seemed to have a partnership similar to that of Fagen and Becker of Steely Dan fame and it’s hard to pinpoint how many members were actually in China Crisis during this period. Nevertheless solid and interesting singles continued to emerge in 1983- ‘No More Blue Horizons’ is a wonderful melodic track that was a minor UK hit and was followed by the beautifully odd ‘Tragedy and Mystery’-which failed to break the UK Top 40. Finally in late 1983 the band secured a US deal with the prestigous Warner Brothers Records. A new LP was readied for release, led by a dazzling atmospheric hit single in ‘Wishful Thinking‘. The lads were on their way.
(to be continued)