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BORGHESIA (Buy CDs by this artist)
Love Is Colder Than Death (It. Materiali Sonori) 1985
Their Laws, Our Lives (It. Materiali Sonori) 1986
No Hope, No Fear EP (Play It Again Sam) 1987
Escorts And Models (Play It Again Sam) 1988
Resistance (Play It Again Sam) 1989
CLICK CLICK/BORGHESIA
Doublebill (Play It Again Sam) 1988

Understandably for a trio of sociology and philosophy students who began as a theater group, Borghesia's music is arty, grandiose and pretentious; however, as a band emerging from a repressed society (Yugoslavia) to create its own movement (the New Slovenian Art scene, along with Laibach), Borghesia is also intriguing and provocative.

Lacking Laibach's fascistic bent, Borghesia also uses symphonic keyboard arrangements and morbid beats to create a similar Teutonic and military feel. The group's early output is quite rare: cassette-only releases (including one, apparently, of purely classical music) and two European albums, Love Is Colder Than Death and Their Laws, Our Lives.

Borghesia's trans-Atlantic calling card, the No Hope, No Fear mini-album, presents a group whose classical background merges comfortably with a digital sensibility. Though certainly not easy listening, the six tracks are far more mainstream than might be expected of a group so far removed from the familiar environs of rock and pop.

Escorts and Models is far better. This collection of songs about the darker side of sex combines melodic vocals with spoken phrases (only partly in English), utilizes samples to excellent effect and embraces both funereal tempos ("Beat and Scream") and industrial disco ("A.P.R."). A tantalizing musical venture by any standards, it proves that, in their genre, Borghesia have the skills and creative tools to compete with the world's best.

Exposure to Western audiences through touring and (self-produced) videos resulted in the mutated 12-inch cover of Sonic Youth's "She Is Not Alone." Borghesia then returned to their own culture for Resistance, loosely an album of protest songs. Dropping the playful aspects of Escorts and Models, this venture is sinister through and through, an often unsettling voyage into the heart of totalitarianism. The beats pound ominously, the lyrics are direct and the choruses have a martial feel. While Borghesia is clearly capable of doing the commercial tango, Resistance is a battle with evil.

Doublebill is a joint 12-inch shared with England's Click Click: Borghesia's side consists of two mixes of "Naked Uniform Dead" (from Escorts) and two non-LP cuts.

[Tony Fletcher]