Sounding like a modest cross between U2 and early Cult, this Leeds trio isn’t exactly good (vocalist Trevor Tanner ain’t got what it takes), but it’s not dead in the water, either. The six-track Giants has some promising ideas and intriguing production qualities, but nothing else going for it.
Keyboardist Paul Clark joined the Bolshoi in time for Friends, which takes more of a glossy guitar-and- synth dance path, colored by sporadic echoes of Big Country, a crisp drum sound and Tanner’s alternately Antlike/Bonoesque overtones. While the American Friends CD incorporates the contents of Giants, the UK tape and CD add one bonus track (“A Funny Thing…”).
The quartet finally located a workably thick equilibrium between guitar and keyboards on the self-produced Lindy’s Party, ten new slices of threadbare lyrical pretension delivered in Tanner’s usual semi-tolerable voice. Less specifically derivative than the group’s previous records, Lindy’s Party should have been the Bolshoi’s debut.
Released in 1990, Bigger Giants consists of Giants plus two 12-inch singles of the same vintage. With a weird cover of Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic,” a wretchedly Bowiesque rendition of Jacques Brel’s “Amsterdam” and two different versions of “Happy Boy,” this record proves conclusively that — in the Bolshoi’s case at least — bigger isn’t necessarily better.