Frequently heard on Ed-FM’s Retrospect show, but rarely heard anywhere else, It’s Immaterial was a vital 80’s band. Formed in 1980 in Liverpool from three members of another little-known band, Yachts, the original members were John Campbell (vocals), Martin Dempsey (guitar), and Henry Priestman (keyboards). Paul Barlow (drums) also joined up with the ex-Yachts trio, rounding out the first line-up.
It’s Immaterial released several singles over their first two years. In 1981, they recorded four sessions for legendary John Peel. One of the songs, “A Gigantic Raft,” was featured on the soundtrack of the 2004 remake of the movie “Manchurian Candidate.”
The band’s debut album, curiously, was not released until 1986, after It’s Immaterial was reduced to a duo consisting of founding member Campbell, and Jarvis Whitehead (guitar, keyboards). Titled, Life’s Hard and Then You Die, the tracks included the single hit “Ed’s Funky Diner.”
It’s Immaterial went on to release one more album commercially in 1990, titled Song. Although a critical success, it did not fare so well in sales. There was eventually a third, unreleased album. This from Wikipedia:
The group also recorded a third full album with the working title of “House for Sale.” According to John Campbell it is finished and still in the vault. They shopped it around but could not find a label to release it. He said they were told it was too “dark.”
To my ear, the best way to describe It’s Immaterial’s style is a dash New Wave, a dollop of New Romantic, and a healthy dose of the unique style which underscores such wonderful groups as Big Country and Simple Minds. Amazon has It’s Immaterial music for sale here.
As is true with most bands featured in “Criminally Underrated,” if you have not availed yourself of It’s Immaterial music, it’s still not too late. This was another band that helped form the best music decade ever and definitely worth a listen. Lucky for us Ed-FM thinks so, too.
“Ed’s Funky Diner” via YouTube user jmj321:
“Rope” via YouTube user sebaaastian13:
“Driving Away From Home” via YouTube user parkhill62:
“Space” via YouTube user dendekedekedeke:
“New Brighton” via YouTube user jmj321:
Life’s Hard and Then You Die (1986)
House For Sale (unreleased)
Missy!!!! Excellent post, I so love these guys and could never understand why they did not fare better. Great job and thank you
Thank you (((((((((Ed)))))))))))) – my pleasure! 🙂
I don’t know how I’ve stumbled upon this site but I did. I have been looking for this mysterious band for years and wondered what happened to them and who they were. When I was in college in the 80’s in Iowa I somehow had this band on a cassette tape! I listened to them all the time. I lost that tape but over the years I would ask people if they had ever heard of this band and no one had. It was a mystery. I also looked for their music to buy but could never find it. I’m so happy I found them on the web and will try to buy it on Amazon.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. If I reach even one person, my mission is successful! Along with David Marsden and Ed-FM who champion little-known yet fabulous 80s artists, my goal is to make sure as many people hear about criminally underrated music as possible.
Cheers and thanks again.
Hi — Are you aware that It’s Immaterial are trying to crowdfund the release of their lost third album, House For Sale? I’ve pledged, but am not confident that they’re going to make their goal, so I’m trying to get the word out…
Thank you for sharing this information–I wish them lots of luck and hope they are successful!
Me too. You’re very welcome.