After a few years of gigging in and around London, Peckham’s Black Bordello are an established live force. Following a succession of well received singles ( Spectre Man, Backache, Leeches ) The London group have released a full length debut album that melds Vaudeville, Jazz and Gothic Rock in one complete and overwhelming maelstrom.
Originally the project of Sienna Bordello, much of the albums material dates back to Black Bordello’s 2017 inception, although it has now been honed to streamlined perfection. However, as the band’s line up has stabilised, a singular sound has emerged that fuses the band’s seemingly disparate influences.
Sienna’s influences come from across the board from “the loaded rebellion” of PJ Harvey and Poly Styrene to the emotional integrity of Bessie Smith and the post-modern vibe collages of Post Normal. The latter of which she was introduced to by her university lecturer the late, great writer Mark Fisher. “I sheepishly told him I couldn’t make music, because i didn’t have any of the right ‘stuff’. He told me that was bollocks and showed me some bands who recorded at home without all the fancy gear and software, Garage Band and Audacity became my playground as I discovered there is no right way”.
Of her own musical beginnings, Sienna says ” I got very into pre-war Jazz and started singing standards at the Jamboree in the Cable Street studios, where I later ended up illegally living. I would get up and sit with the band and sing a song or two, normally Billie Holiday or Bessie Smith, as dancers with day jobs partnered up and practised swing dancing in hoards on the old scratched parquet floors. I had fun but it wasn’t always easy”.
After Sienna’s scatting was deemed too experimental for the jazz standards group, she looked for a new musical vehicle. After bonding with keys player Andrew Marriott over similar fish tattoos at a Brockley party, Black Bordello swifty took shape, with the group taking their name from Sienna’s family restaurant ‘Il Bordello’.
Now roughly 3 years after the band’s first show, a fully realised self titled album is finally ready for release. From the Dreaming era of Kate Bush’s theatre of ‘Leeches’ to the heady prog swagger of ‘Prufrock’, a wild range of music is on show. ‘Baby’ is a noisy Jazz sprawl and ‘Spectre Man’ is as maudlin a ballad as you’re ever likely to hear. This is a vital debut album by one of the capitals most exciting new bands.
Black Bordello are:
Sienna Bordello – Guitar, Vocals
Henry Carpenter – Keys
Antony Boatright – Bass
Eddie Amos – Drums
HIGH VIOLET PR