Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vitamin Z - Rites Of Passage (1985)

In which we imagine a world where the compact disc was introduced in 1980, and now-obscure artists and albums could be preserved for posterity...

Provocative, compelling, innovative - Vitamin Z, on Rites Of Passage, their debut album for Geffen Records, have fashioned a fresh and fully realized sound far ahead of its time. It's an accomplishment all the more impressive given the fact that Vitamin Z is a brand new musical entity, a creative collaboration that catches and holds with assurance and aggression far beyond their years. Simply put, Vitamin Z may well be among the most important new English arrivals in recent memory. Remember, you heard it here first.

Vitamin Z founders Geoff Barradale and Nick Lockwood, both just 25 years old, were born and raised in the industrial wastelands of Northern England's Sheffield, a city whose pop heritage includes such notables as Dave Berry and Joe Cocker, as well as, more recently, Human League and Cabaret Voltaire. The group originally took shape around a loose-knit collection of local musicians who came together in a common rehearsal space. Barradale and Lockwood, recognizing early their mutual affinity for melodic evocative modern music, began developing material together, eventually forming a group that performed for increasingly enthusiastic crowds in and around their home town. Prior to their signing to Geffen Records, the band cut some sides for PolyGram, meanwhile building a solid and growing reputation as a galvanic live unit.

Barradale and Lockwood next traveled south to London to record their Geffen debut, choosing the famed Abbey Road Studios to cut the tracks that would eventually comprise Rites Of Passage. Assisting the duo was a stellar cast of supporting musicians, including Peter Gabriel, drummer Jerry Marotta, Chris Merrick Hughes, (percussionist for Adam Ant), guitarist Neil Hubbard, violinist Simon House and arranger Ann Dudley.

An especially integral part of the Rites Of Passage sessions was guitarist David Rhodes, perhaps best known for his work with Peter Gabriel and Blancmange. David went on to become a full-fledged member of Vitamin Z, based on the creative chemistry among the young artists.

Produced and recorded by Ross Cullum, Rites Of Passage spotlights eight Barradale/Lockwood originals including their debut single "Burning Flame." The accompanying video to "Burning Flame," tells an evocative story-in-song that will be continued with Vitamin Z's next single/video release "Every Time That I See You."

There come those moments, only too rarely, when a new band captures completely the spirit and energy of their time. Vitamin Z is such a band; their time is now and for a very long while to come. (from the Geffen press release, 1985)

A little over the top, maybe, but Rites Of Passage still deserves a CD reissue one of these days.

Vitamin Z - Rites Of Passage (1985)
  1. Burning Flame
  2. Circus Ring
  3. Hi Hi Friend
  4. Every Time That I See You
  5. Casablanca
  6. Angela
  7. Anybody Out There?
  8. Something We Can Do
  9. Burning Flame (Extended Dance Mix)
  10. Dancers of Eve
  11. Circus Ring (Remix)

Unofficial Web Site

Fairly harsh reviews on

Wikipedia Entry

The band is also mentioned at Burning Flame and was recently featured at New Romantic Rules, with some different bonus tracks. It's getting hard to be original!


Grumpies said...

I agree it needs to be reissued. This is one of my favorite albums of all-time. If you don't have this, download it now!

Tanner said...

can you reupload this please the link is bad :)or email it to me


Tanner said...

can you reupload this or email it to me please!

Thanks, tanner

fiftypercent said...

I've put up a new link. The tracklisting may have different bonus tracks, I'm not really sure.

ricloads said...

thanks so much for this gem!

Howard said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have the record - yes, actual vinyl, and my turntable isn't functioning, and I couldn't find Rites of Passage anywhere. I do have Sharp Stone Rain on CD, but have always preferred Rites. Brilliant!

Joe said...

I cannot believe that I found this!
Can anyone email me the Rites of Passage? or let me know how i can get a copy?


Grumpies said...

Joe, I could email it to you, but it would have to be one track at a time. Let me know if you're interested.

McDoC said...

Vitamin Z's RITES OF PASSAGE reissue to be released on July 28, 2009. YES!!!

Sebastian said...

Going back and rediscovering Rites Of Passage after 25 years filled me with a kind of dread. What if I was a dumb teen easily seduced by marketing? I'm glad to report it's stood the test of time. The compositions are solid and the bonus tracks on the re-issue are worthy editions. The fact that V.Z. were plagued with negative reviews at the time of its release boggles mind. Circus Ring is such an epic track!