Bronski Beat were a popular British synthpop trio who achieved success in the mid-1980s, particularly with the 1984 chart hit “Smalltown Boy“. All members of the group were openly gay and their songs reflected this, often containing political commentary on gay-related issues. At the height of their popularity the band consisted of singer Jimmy Somerville backed by Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek, both of whom played keyboards and percussion.
Artist: Bronski Beat
Title: The Age Of Consent
Label: London Records
The Age of Consent is the debut album by synthpop band Bronski Beat (Steve Bronski, Larry Steinbachek and Jimmy Somerville), released on London Records on 15 October 1984. This was the only album released by the band to feature Somerville, who departed the band in 1985.
By 1984, many European countries had reduced the age of consent for homosexual acts to 16, but it remained at 21 in the United Kingdom, having only been decriminalised in 1967; the wording of the legislation to decriminalise also included wording that placed restrictions such as making illegal the use of a hotel room for seks. Homosexuality was further stigmatised beyond the restrictions placed on homosexual individuals, and homophobia was a danger to gay individuals.
Against this background, Bronski, Steinbachek, and Somerville met in Brixton in 1983, and soon formed Bronski Beat. They signed a recording contract with London Records in 1984 after doing only nine live gigs.
The album was produced by Mike Thorne; the recording sessions took place in London and New York City. The first single, “Smalltown Boy“, was recorded at The Garden studio (owned by former Ultravox singer John Foxx) and mixed at Maison Rouge studio, both of them based in London.
The song “Heatwave” features the tap dancing rhythms of Caroline O’Connor.
1. Why? (4:02)
2. Ain’t Necessarily So (4:34)
3. Screaming (4:13)
4. No More War (3:52)
5. Love & Money (5:08)
1. Smalltown Boy (5:02)
2. Heatwave (2:41)
3. Junk (4:17)
4. Need A Man Blues (4:19)
5. I Feel Love / Johnny Remember Me (5:59)