Seminal Single: Monsoon – Ever So Lonely

The Mobile Suit Corporation | UK | 12" | 1982 | corp 212

Monsoon: Ever So Lonely UK 12″ [1982]

  1. Ever So Lonely [ext. ver.]
  2. Sunset Over The Ganges

As I have mentioned before, I was listening a lot to WPRK-FM, college radio in Orlando in the ’81-’82 period. There was an avalanche of amazing new sounds in that turbulent period; the point where the energy of Post-Punk seemed to peak before plateauing. By 1984 the ebbing had begun in earnest but in the Summer of ’82 there was still an embarrassment of riches to be had. I used to listen to the radio with cassettes recording everything for posterity. One afternoon, I chanced to hear some amazing Post-Punk raga rock that blended traditional Indian music full of sitars and tablas with synthesizers and drum machines. The world music trend hadn’t really surfaced above ground in the way that it soon would, so this was a startling synthesis that I was hearing for the first time.

I listened to that tape repeatedly and played it for several acquaintances, not insignificantly, a guy who managed one of the better record stores in town. That paid off in spades when the following Spring, this gent opened up his own record store. Soon thereafter, I was pleased to see the album by Monsoon in the import bins and quickly snatched it up. I was happy to hear that the long 6:20 mix that I’d heard on the radio the previous year was the LP version. The track was so hypnotically beautiful you just didn’t want it to ever end, the the longer it played out the better.

The singer for Monsoon was Sheila Chandra, who I recently discovered was a teenaged actress in the British soap Grange Hill. She aspired to be a singer and had sent demos to various labels, including Hansa. While working at Hansa, her demo tape reached the desk of musician Steve Coe; a British fellow with an interest in Indian music via his exposure to vintage Bollywood soundtracks in the late 70s. He was interested in linking up with the singer and creating an exciting Indian/Post-Punk fusion music. Guitarist Martin Smith completed the core lineup and they abetted the sound with various guest musicians, including Bill Nelson, who was also signed to Mercury at the time. Mercury was the mother label who distributed releases by The Mobile Suit Corporation. Nelson’s distinctive e-bow guitar of the period graced several cuts on the album.

For several years, the Monsoon album was a “secret weapon” record that always intrigued people who heard it on any mix tapes that I had made for them. By the mid-80s, I had begun to get records by mail order, and when catalogs featuring Monsoon singles came my way, I made certain to order any and everything, especially since the group had broken up in late 1982, even prior to the release of their album! It seems that Mercury was leaning creatively on the group after “Ever So Lonely” went top ten in the UK charts and forced the release of songs they didn’t want to record as follow-up singles. These included the perfunctory Beatles cover of “Tomorrow Never Knows;” hardly a stretch for the band! When that single stiffed, the band split up in protest. But it was one of those band “breakups” like that of The Revillos. The band really broke up in name only, and went on to record under the Sheila Chandra name. For their own label, Steve Coe’s Indipop Records. I finally got the 12″ single of “Ever So Lonely” in 1986 and while the “extended version” was the familiar LP track, the B-side was the non-LP “Sunset Over The Ganges.”

Ms. Chandra’s solo career may be better known in The States, given that following a string of less “pop” sounding but no less wonderful solo albums on Indipop, she eventually recorded several albums for Peter Gabriel’s Real World label in the 90s. All of these were recorded with Steve Coe, who has remained her steadfast collaborator. I have all of her albums save for “ABoneCroneDrone,” which still escapes my grasp. I just bought her last album to date, 2001’s “This Sentence Is True [the previous sentence is false],” so there has been a ten year silence from Ms. Chandra, in contrast to the fertile ’84-’85 period which saw several albums per year in rapid succession! But she hasn’t been resting on her laurels; last year she released her first non-fiction book, “Banish Clutter Forever: How The Toothbrush Principle Will Change Your Life.” One hopes that she will see her way forward to producing more music one day soon.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

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11 Responses to Seminal Single: Monsoon – Ever So Lonely

  1. ronkanefiles says:

    Her Real World albums are all very good. Your CD need of BoneDroneClone is duly noted. Great stuff!

    Like

  2. Tim says:

    Interesting post, your posts like this and the cd-a-week are some of my favorites….except some of the stuff you write about sounds right up my ears and I doubt I’ll ever find it.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – It’s true that on Discogs those Monsoon singles are selling high. Fortunately, the 1995 “Third Eye” RM [under the title “Monsoon featuring Sheila Chandra”] is still widely available. In fact, I need to buy a copy since it is chock full of bonus tracks, unlike my straight 1988 CD of “Third Eye.”

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  3. Tim says:

    Speaking of Peter Gabriel’s Real World label, I recently learned that he has an internet music service, too. They are selling Thomas Dolby’s new album as a digital download for a month before the physical product is otherwise available. Are you planning on doing a write-up on Mr. Dolby’s latest effort? Just curious…..

    Here’s linkage for anyone who is interested:

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/Society_of_Sound/Society_of_Sound/Music/Subscribe.html

    There is a promo code tied into the Dolby release, it is (according to Dolby’s forums)
    25OFFSOS

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – I greatly enjoyed Dolby’s last album, but I didn’t buy “Astronauts & Heretics” until many years after its release. I went off him with “The Flat Earth” but I bought the singles from “A+H” due to the many “classic era” rarities being trotted out as B-sides. And it turned out that the A-sides weren’t the novelty dross he traded in for far too long [see “Hyperactive,” “May The Cube Be With You,” “Airhead” et. al], so I took a chance on the album used. I liked it a lot, and I loved “The Sole Inhabitant,” so I’m awaiting the physical release of his new one.

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  4. Echorich says:

    Ever So Lonely is one of those go to songs for me when I’m stressed out or frustrated by life. It truly takes you away for 6 minutes and keeps you floating for a long time afterwards.

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  5. Tim says:

    Astronauts and Heretics for me is a greatly underrated disk that I like quite a lot, not a huge fan of his hits ”Science” or ”Hyperactive.” The new one, well, I either love the track in question or loathe it & I’ve never had such a visceral reaction to a disk by him. Small world, someone I went to school with for years, his uncle is a guy named Matthew Seligman who frequently plays for Dolby. I had a chance to see Do0lby on tour for free courtesy of Rich on the Flat Earth tour and passed thinking he would be touring for years and there would be another chance. Stupid, stupid me.

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  6. Pingback: A Monsoon Season Everyone Should Get Behind With Deluxe “Third Eye” UK 2xCD | Post-Punk Monk

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