The Bathers are really a front for the singing/songwriter talents of Chris Thompson, a man whose work I have admired and adored since the early 80s and the emergence of Friends Again. His indie-pop band had lots of fans in the industry and it was no real surprise that when they split in 1985 that he’d get a number of offers and in 1987 his new band released Unusual Places To Die, a tremendous debut album, on Go Discs only to find that those who had most backed his talents had left the label and the record floundered.
Three years later, the band were on Island Records and history repeated itself as Sweet Deceit flopped despite all sorts of press acclaim.
There then followed a period on which Chris Thompson joined forces with Neil Clark and Stephen Irvine (ex-Commotions) and Mark Bedford of Madness to write and release material under the band name Bloomsday and it was 1994 before The Bathers third album – Lagoon Blues – came out via German based Marina Records with further releases in 1995 and 1977 in the shape of Sunpowder and Kelvingrove Baby.
By now, the music was heavily reliant on lush arrangements and the use of strings, brass and keyboards rather than the guitar focussed work of the earlier material with a range of guest vocalists including most notably Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins.
By 1999, Thompson was regarded by many as one of Scotland’s greatest unknown talents His quality and diversity of work was winning small numbers of new admirers with every release including the sixth Bathers album, Pandemonia, which came out that year on Wrasse Records.
There was a demand for some sort of career perspective but the problem however, due in part to his continuous shifting around labels, and also that most of his records were only ever released in small quantities and went quickly out-of-print, that doing something along those lines wasn’t an easy task. The solution lay in the release of Desire Regained in which twenty tracks spanning the career of The Bathers were re-recorded and brought together on one release back in late 2001.
It remains, to the best of my knowledge, the last release by the band although they have never formally broken up.
I thought I’d offer up a song that was recorded three times in the band’s career, in 1987, 1990 and 2001:-
mp3 : The Bathers – Perpetual Adoration (1987)
mp3 : The Bathers – Perpetual Adoration (1990)
mp3 : The Bathers – Perpetual Adoration (2001)