80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ The Dolphin Brothers

DB1Someone asked a question about The Dolphin Brothers on David Marsden’s community posting board this past week, which in turn became the inspiration for this week’s Criminally Underrated post.

Of course, I never need an excuse nor inspiration to post about anything or anyone remotely related to David Sylvian and his former venue Japan. I am in love with Sylvian, his contribution to the look and sound of the 80’s post-punk and New Wave era, and am enthralled by the depth of his talent which blossomed fully when he went solo, and continues to evolve to this day.

Sylvian’s brother Steve Jansen was also a member of Japan, along with Richard Barbieri. When Japan folded, Jansen and Barbieri struck out on their own as The Dolphin Brothers with Steve Jansen on lead vocals, drums, and percussion, and Richard Barbieri on keyboards and synthesizers. They produced one very fine album, Catch The Fall. This collection is comprised of catchy dance-infused tunes which perfectly suited the era into which it emerged. It also contains soul-infused ballads that sound as though they could have leapt directly from a solo David Sylvian album.DB2

There is always the temptation to compare The Dolphin Brothers to Japan, and Jansen to Sylvian, the highly recognizable, flamboyant front-man of Japan. Suffice it to say, the brothers share incredibly good looks and even have a familial vocal resemblance. And yes, traces of Japan influence emerge on several of the tracks, along with the style that Sylvian himself defined in his solo works, which is not necessarily a bad thing. No matter; Jansen and Barbieri did a highly successful job of creating a sound and feel complimentary to David Sylvian’s signature style and that of Japan’s, but polished and strong enough to stand on its own.

Other musicians who contributed to the one and only LP release were Phil Palmer and David Rhodes (acoustic and electric guitars), B. Heinrich-Keat (electric guitar), Clive Bell (Thai flute, khene, crumhorn), Carrie Booth (piano), Danny Thompson (double bass), Matthew Seligman and Robert Bell (bass), Martin Ditchman (percussion), Suzanne Murphy, Kate Kissoon, and P.P. Arnold (backing vocals).

Unfortunately, finding The Dolphin Brothers music videos on YouTube is about as rare as hen’s teeth. These are the only two I was able to come up with – enjoy!

“Shining” fan video via YouTube user saturdayson:

“Catch the Fall” fan video via YouTube user yaiga:

Purchase “Catch the Fall” here.



DBaCatch The Fall (1987)