I’ve decided to stay in Canada for just a while longer (figuratively, though I wish it was literally), since many of my favorite underrated 80’s bands come from there. The band I am featuring today also hails from Ontario and is still going strong. They are The Spoons, and are the epitome of all that is fabulous about 80’s Canadian New Wave.
One other thing that makes them so special is that founding members Gordon Deppe (lead vocals, guitar) and Sandy Horne (vocals, bass) were high school sweethearts and are still very much committed to one another. What better foundation for a successful band than a perfect soul-mate match?
The band formed in 1979 with Deppe and Horne, Brett Wickens (keyboard, synths), and Peter Shepherd (drums). The following year, Shepherd was replaced on drums by Derrick Ross and Wickens was replaced by Rob Preuss, a mere young lad at the tender age of fifteen. The band released their first full-length LP in 1981. Titled Stick Figure Neighbourhood, this classic example of 80’s New Wave remains a timeless collection of extraordinary music, backed by the engineering sheer genius of Daniel Lanois.
The LP that broke the band into the dance/New Wave scene was their sophomore effort, Arias and Symphonies. A masterpiece fusing guitars and synths into a seamless union of ear-pleasing music, it featured such gems as “Nova Heart,” “Arias and Symphonies,” and “Smiling In Winter.” “Nova Heart” represents all that is great in New Wave, while “Arias and Symphonies” shines as a highly orchestrated endeavor that leaves the listener both enthralled and breathless.
1983 saw the release of the LP Talkback, and a hit single “Old Emotions.” In 1985, both Rob Preuss and Derrick Ross left the Spoons to pursue other musical interests, replaced by Scott MacDonald and Steve Kendry. The Spoons released an album in 1986 called Bridges Over Borders which marked a departure from the New Wave genre into harder rock territory. The album didn’t fare well on the charts, leading to a retreat to the familiar New Wave sound, prominent on the group’s last LP Vertigo Tango, released in 1989.
The two remaining original members, Deppe and Horne, continue to play in and around the Toronto and Hamilton ON areas. Gordon Deppe has recorded solo efforts, as well as forming his current trio, Five Star Fall. One of their singles, “Mercurial Girl,” is an absolute barn-burning scorcher of a song, frequently heard on David Marsden’s show from The Rock FM. Deppe has also recorded the hard-rocking “Sonic Boom,” also featured in Marsden’s rotation. Rob Preuss is the Associate Musical Director for Mama Mia! at the Wintergarden Theater in New York City.
The aforementioned LPs are must-haves for any serious 80’s New Wave music collector. All guaranteed to conjure up memories of all that was good during the fabulous 80’s.
“Nova Heart” via YouTube user kurdtss:
“Romantic Traffic” via YouTube user dcappe:
“Arias and Symphonies” (live) via YouTube user MCReFresh08:
“Radio Heaven” via YouTube user MissParker0106:
Five Star Fall’s “Mercurial Girl” via YouTube user Homebass2636:
Visit the Spoons’ website for album availability and ordering information.
After The Institution/My Job single (1980)
Stick Figure Neighbourhood (1981)
Arias & Symphonies (1982)
Talk Back (1983)
Tell No Lies EP (1984)
Listen To The City (1985)
Bridges Over Borders (1986)
Vertigo Tango (1988)
Collectible Spoons (1994)
Unexpected Guest At A Cancelled Party (2007)