Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Wave for the New Week #73

Gimmick bands are, as a rule, generally short-lived ensembles.  The early '80s saw a number of them come and go (anyone else remember Dog Police?), and once their short shelf life expired, that was that.  This week's entry in the NW4NW series is a rare exception to that rule, although for a long time it did not look like they would end up any differently.

Gail Peterson, Roxy Anderson, Joanne Holland and Doreen Holmes came together as The Catholic Girls at the beginning of the decade.  Dressed in matching Catholic schoolgirl uniforms and sporting cross earrings and punky snarls, their first single, "Private School" (released under the band name The Double Cross Schoolgirls), garnered enough attention in their native New Jersey and neighboring New York for the band to start being booked regularly at the many Punk and New Wave clubs springing up at the time.

The bands' musicianship improved steadily and Peterson's trilly vocals quickly became integral to their sound, and their first album, The Catholic Girls, appeared in 1982.  Sporting a new recording of "Private School," as well as the singles "Boys Can Cry" and "C'est Impossible," the album was well-received, but critics pounced on the bands' name/image combination and wrote them off as a gimicky novelty act.  A second album was recorded but not released, and The Catholic Girls disappeared.

Fast forward to the late '90s: as various labels trolled the early '80s to find long-forgotten albums to reissue to a new audience, Renaissance Records scored the rights to The Catholic Girls and the other unreleased material and made it all available on one CD.  Sales were strong enough to rekindle interest in the band, and in 2002 - twenty years after their debut - The Catholic Girls released their second album, Make Me Believe, and resumed touring in the NJ/NY/PA area.  2006 saw the release of Meet The Catholic Girls, making their second go-around more productive than their first!  The girls continue to play and record.

For this week's NW4NW entry, here's a clip of The Catholic Girls, in full regalia, performing "C'est Impossible" on TV in 1983. Enjoy!

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