The Arts Desk
Despite taking their name from keyboard player and the trio’s co-songwriter Steve Bronski, Bronski Beat’s focus was Jimmy Somerville’s voice, an emotive falsetto that bled hurt and frustration. That they were gay was the next thing noticed. Their debut single, “Smalltown Boy”, was the heartfelt account of a boy who had to leave home. Their debut album, 1984’s The Age of Consent, included a list of the legal status of homosexuality in European countries.
Bronski Beat used accessible electro pop to get their point across. After they folded, Somerville formed Communards with long-time friend and current-day priest Richard Coles, and also moved full-time into the charts. These three reissues chart Somerville’s journey from 1984 to 1987, before he went solo. Each double CD set is stuffed with extra tracks, 12-inch mixes, remixes and demos. The Bronki's comp Hundreds And Thousands is included with The Age of Consent, and Storm Paris, the triple-12-inch live set, is included with Red. Somerville is interviewed for the liner notes of each. It’s the last word on his earliest musical ventures.