Sunday, March 06, 2005

Au Pairs

The Au Pairs formed in Birmingham, England in 1979 and were part of the original post-punk scene. Like many bands of the time, lyrically they attacked the conservative political climate sweeping “Thatcherite” England, but with a line up of consisting of two women (lead by lesbian feminist Lesley Woods) and two men they also celebrated female sexuality and sang of the power struggles between the sexes.

Musically, the Au Pairs took on such diverse influences as reggae, ska, blue-beat and garage guitar thrash to create raw and dissonant yet catchy and extremely danceable songs, sharing political and musical kinship with bands such as Gang of Four and The Mekons.

Critically acclaimed for their social insight and thoughtful, agit-prop music, they released two albums; “Playing With A Different Sex” which hit # 33 on the UK national chart in 1981 and “Sense And Sensuality” in 1982.

The band toured throughout England and Europe, but after Lesley Woods failed to appear for a concert in Belgium in 1983 the group disappeared. Woods later blamed the split on "lack of money, nervous breakdowns and drugs . . . the usual rock 'n' roll story".

Cherry Red Records released “Shocks To The System - The Very Best Of The Au Pairs” in 1999 and the band’s dance friendly musical influences can be seen in some of the current wave of post-punk/disco bands.

Au Pairs - It's Obvious.mp3


Blogger countrygrrl said...

haven't heard this in yonks...i saw them play a stotter of a set at aberdeen university union here in scotland aeons ago. lesley woods was very charasmatic and had all us young pretenders salivating into our plastic beer glasses.

Tue May 03, 07:39:00 am  
Blogger Michael said...

hey countrygrrl, thanks for all of your great comments - i'm sure the Au Pairs gig was huge fun. sadly the band didn't make it to Australia, but their music was a favourite at the best night club at the time in Perth, The Red Parrot, where - along with the university radio stations and air freighted NMEs - i first heard the Au Pairs. I recently stumbled across an old mix tape from 1983 and found this gem, amongst others, and relived those funky old days of dancing, drinking and taking diet pills

Sat May 07, 12:00:00 pm  

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