Few 80’s musicians affect me in the way that Armoury Show does. Since I first heard “Castles in Spain” on the recommendation of my 80’s mentor several years ago, I was hooked. Sure, Richard Jobson was mercilessly criticized as being nothing more than a showman, acting out every nuance and feeling, emoting each emotionally charged lyric; but in my mind, and to my ear, it worked beautifully. Add to the mix the supreme and seasoned talents of John McGeoch (RIP), Russell Webb and John Doyle, and what you have is an unmatched combination that produced only one album of outstandingly lovely songs.
So what happened?
I wish I knew. I am fortunate to have the LP Waiting for the Floods in its entirety. No matter how often I play this collection, no matter how many times I put my favorite selection, the song identically named “Waiting for the Floods” on repeat, I am overcome. Jobson had a way with wringing the sentiment out of each song that shot daggers into even the coldest and unyielding of hearts. This was a huge leap from his previous punk roots as the angry lead singer of The Skids.
John McGeoch’s pedigree included Howard Devoto’s group Magazine and contributions to Siouxsie and the Banshees. He went on to further his career with Public Image Ltd. Webb followed Jobson from the Skids and left Armoury Show to pursue a solo career. Doyle, too, came from Magazine and post-Armoury Show, went on to rejoin Devoto and play with the Buzzcocks.
There are a few offerings from YouTube that will familiarize those of you who have never heard Armoury Show with their rich music. Unfortunately, the sole and home-made video on YouTube for “Waiting for the Floods” cuts off at the end. The song is a full 5:23 in duration, yet the video clocks in at only 4:23.
From the YouTube user RNregina ~ Waiting for the Floods:
From the YouTube user GallowayHills ~ We Can Be Brave Again:
From the YouTube user godisatan ~ Casles in Spain:
From the YouTube user godisatan ~ Kyrie:
In terms of time, Armoury show, as a group, may have only been a short flash in the pan of a burgeoning era of post-punk and New Wave music. But, they left an indelible mark on the decade with a single album that remains as a testimonial to their talent. Why they were unable to take the world by storm will remain one of life’s ironic mysteries. Meanwhile, if you can find a copy of Waiting for the Floods, I urge you to buy it. Every 80’s music collection deserves to have this gem.