Sunday, July 9, 2017


Crime & The City Solution are an Australian alternate rock group which formed in late 1977 in Sydney with a line-up of Simon Bonney on lead vocals, Phil Kitchener on bass guitar, Dave MacKinnon on saxophone, Don McLennan on drums (ex-Particles) and Harry Zantey on guitar. The group has had five distinct line-ups with Bonney as the only mainstay: Sydney in 1977–78, Melbourne in 1979, two groupings in Berlin from 1985 to 1990, and Detroit from 2012 onwards. In the late 1970s Bonney had met McLennan and sometimes provided guest vocals for McLennan's group, Particles. According to Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, Particles had "a cult following around the inner-city Sydney scene courtesy of its delightful, melodious pop sound". Whereas according to Peter Nelson of Pulp fanzine, Crime & The City Solution, used "An exciting blend of fuzzed monotone guitar runs and squawking saxophone riffs . . . [like] the drone songs on Wire's Pink Flag".

In late 1978 Bonney and McLennan had relocated to Melbourne where they formed a new version of Crime & The City Solution early the next year with Chris Astley on keyboards, Kim Beissel on saxophone, Lindsay O'Meara on bass guitar (ex-Voigt/465) and Dan Wallace-Crabbe on guitar. In Melbourne Bonney became friends with local post-punk group, The Boys Next Door (later known as The Birthday Party). Crime & The City Solution broke up in 1979 after a number of live shows and recording an unreleased demo. Wallace-Crabbe later joined Laughing Clowns, O'Meara returned to Sydney and joined Pel Mel, Beissel played in Tsk Tsk Tsk, Astley and McLennan in other bands.

In late 1983 Bonney moved to London and reconnected with members of The Birthday Party. In 1985 he formed another version of Crime & The City Solution in London with Mick Harvey on drums, keyboards and bass guitar and Rowland S. Howard on guitar and backing vocals. Howard's younger brother, Harry, soon joined on bass guitar. In June 1985 the group's debut four-track EP, The Dangling Man, was released by Mute Records in the UK and Possum Records in Australia. McFarlane found the EP provided "a gloomy, stripped-down, blues-flavoured sound". A six-track EP, Just South Of Heaven, followed in September for UK release only. It was "cleaner, more powerful set of songs dominated by Bonney's dramatic vocals and chilling instrumentation". After the release, Epic Soundtracks (aka Kevin Godfrey, ex-Swell Maps) joined on drums which freed Harvey to concentrate on keyboards and guitar. In 1986 Bronwyn Adams, Bonney's domestic partner, joined on violin and backing vocals.

With the line-up of Adams, Bonney, Harvey, Rowland and Harry Howard, and Soundtracks, Crime & The City Solution recorded their debut album, Room Of Lights, which was produced by the band, Flood and Tony Cohen. They recorded the album in Berlin. On 27 October 1986 it was released in the UK on Mute Records. Amy Hanson of Allmusic praised it as "rough and ready rock that slotted itself nicely under a gothic canvas – they were and remain post-punk's forgotten kings ... Its urgency jangles, its cacophony is dichotomous, and, at times, the underlying energy is breathtaking as the band storms through a great set". Late that year the Howard brothers and Soundtracks left to form their own group, These Immortal Souls.

In 1987 Adams, Bonney and Harvey recruited Chrislo Haas (D.A.F., Liaisons Dangereuses) on synthesiser, Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten) on guitar and Thomas Stern on bass guitar. In Australia in March 1988, Rampant Records issued a compilation, Room of Lights, with tracks from the UK releases, Just South Of Heaven and Room Of Lights. On 25 April that year Crime & The City Solution issued their second album, Shine, which Allmusic's Ned Raggett felt was "a touch less classically smooth and arranged, more rough around the edges and jagged, especially with Bonney's delivery ... his lyrics come across as distinctly unfriendly to a usual verse/chorus structure, sounding like a spoken-word recitation sung a line at a time". In November Craig Lee described their performance at Bogart's for the Los Angeles Times, "For what is purportedly a loosely structured outfit, this group displayed a remarkable cohesiveness. At times the band has the earthy feel of both old blues and country sounds and the slightly mystical aura of the early Doors. But rather than rehash time-worn styles, the Solution translates these forms into its own introspective idioms".

On 17 April 1989 Crime & The City Solution released their third album, The Bride Ship, for which Raggett found them "continue carving its own strange path. ... Harvey doubtless contributes most of the organ work. Simon Bonney continues to evolve into more of his own man – if anything, he's embracing country and western more explicitly in his singing style". The Bride Ship was issued in Australia by BMG and Arista Records. Alternative rocker Mark Lanegan cites Shine as one of his favourite albums, "[it] is succinct and is great from start to finish. There’s a great sense of space on this record that’s fantastic but the thing that I’m most drawn to is the melancholy on some of those songs. But it also has a cinematic quality".

On 3 September 1990 Crime & the City Solution's fourth studio album, Paradise Discotheque, appeared. It had been recorded between November 1989 to March 1990 and was produced by Haas. The group disbanded late in 1991 and on 4 October 1993 a live album, The Adversary – Live, was released. By 1991 Bonney had moved to Los Angeles where he released two solo albums, Forever (1992) and Everyman (1994).

In late 2011, Bonney was based in Detroit and announced that Crime & The City Solution would re-form to record a new album for Mute Records. Personnel are Bonney, Adams, Hacke, David Eugene Edwards (of US bands 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand), Detroit musician Troy Gregory, Matthew Smith, Jim White (of the Australian group Dirty Three), and Danielle de Picciotto (married to Hacke). Recording of the new album, American Twilight, occurred in Detroit during April 2012 and was released on 25 March 2013.


London/Berlin 1985–1986: Simon Bonney – Vocals; Mick Harvey – Piano, Organ, Guitar; Rowland S. Howard – Guitar, Piano, Organ; Harry Howard – Bass; Epic Soundtracks – Drums, Piano, Organ; Bronwyn Adams - Violin, Backing Vocals.

01 - [1985] The Dangling Man E.P. (12")

01 - The Dangling Man
02 - The Last Day
03 - At The Crossroads
04 - Shakin' Chill

Only The Dangling Man has been released on CD (extra track on the UK Room Of Lights), the rest not.

25.84 Mb

02 - [1985] Just South Of Heaven (MLP)

01 - Rose Blue
02 - The Coal Train
03 - Stolen & Stealing
04 - Five Stone Walls
05 - Trouble Come This Morning
06 - The Wailing Wall

All tracks have been released on CD (extra tracks on the JP Room Of Lights CD, all except Stolen & Stealing on the UK Room Of Lights).

51.50 Mb

03 - [1986] The Kentucky Click/Adventure (12")

01 - The Kentucky Click
02 - Adventure
03 - It Takes Two To Burn

All tracks, except Adventure, have been released on CD (extra tracks on the JP Room Of Lights CD).

19.26 Mb

04 - [1986] Room Of Lights (UKCD)

01 - Right Man, Wrong Man
02 - No Money, No Honey
03 - Hey Sinkiller
04 - Six Bells Chime
05 - Adventure
06 - Untouchable
07 - The Brother Song
08 - Her Room Of Lights (For Lisa)
09 - Rose Blue
10 - The Coal Train
11 - Five Stone Walls
12 - The Wailing Wall
13 - Trouble Come This Morning
14 - The Dangling Man

Tracks 9-13: bonus tracks from Just South Of Heaven mini album

Track 14: bonus track from The Dangling Man E.P. 12"

145.32 Mb


Berlin 1987–1991: Simon Bonney – Vocals; Mick Harvey – Keyboards, Drums, Bass; Bronwyn Adams – Violin; Alexander Hacke – Guitar; Chrislo Haas – Synthesizer; Thomas Stern – Bass

05 - [1988] On Every Train (12")

01 - On Every Train (Grain Will Bear Grain)
02 - All Must Be Love (Early Version)

Both tracks have been released as extra tracks on the Shine CD.

13.00 Mb

06 - [1988] Shine (UKCD)

01 - All Must Be Love
02 - Fray So Slow
03 - Angel
04 - On Every Train (Grain Will Bear Grain)
05 - Hunter
06 - Steal To The Sea
07 - Home Is Far From Here
08 - On Every Train (Grain Will Bear Grain) [12" Version]
09 - All Must Be Love (Early Version)

Tracks 8-9 are bonus tracks from On Every Train 12".

108.79 Mb

07 - [1989] The Shadow Of No Man (CDS)

01 - The Shadow Of No Man
02 - The Bride Ship
03 - Three/Four
04 - On Every Train (Grain Will Bear Grain)

The Bride Ship is a different mix from the album version. This mix also appears as an extra track (together with Three/Four) on the CD.

On Every Train is the 7" single version of this track.

28.06 Mb

08 - [1989] The Bride Ship (CD)

01 - The Shadow Of No Man
02 - The Greater Head
03 - Stone
04 - The Dangling Man
05 - Keepsake
06 - The Bride Ship
07 - Free World
08 - New World
09 - Three/Four
10 - The Bride Ship (Single Version)

The Dangling Man is a re-recording, because Simon and Mick were not happy with the EP version recorded in 1985.

Tracks 9-10 are bonus tracks from The Shadow Of No Man CDS.

103.27 Mb

09 - [1990] I Have The Gun (12")

01 - I Have The Gun
02 - Motherless Child (Dance Mix)
03 - I Have The Gun (Woody Guthrie Mix)

14.13 Mb

10 - [1990] Paradise Discotheque (CD)

01 - I Have The Gun
02 - The Sly Persuaders
03 - The Dolphins And The Sharks
04 - The Sun Before the Darkness
05 - Motherless Child
06 - The Last Dictator I
07 - The Last Dictator II
08 - The Last Dictator III
09 - The Last Dictator IV

88.14 Mb

11 - [1993] The Adversary - Live (CD)

01 - The Adversary
02 - Keep Sake
03 - All Must Be Love
04 - The Last Dictator Part 1
05 - The Last Dictator Part 2
06 - The Dangling Man
07 - On Every Train (Grain Will Bear Grain)
08 - Angel
09 - The Dolphins & The Sharks
10 - The Bride Ship
11 - The Free World
12 - The Sun Before Darkness

Track 1 recorded @ Conny's Studio, Wolperath (DE) during December 1990 for Wim Wenders film "Until The End Of The World".

Tracks 2-5,7-8,12 recorded live @ New Morning, Paris (FR) on 17th December 1990.

Tracks 6,10-11 recorded live @ CBGB's,New York City (US) on 5th August 1991.

Track 9 recorded live @ CBGB's,New York City (US) on 6th August 1991.

131.35 Mb


Detroit 2012 onwards: Simon Bonney – Vocals; Bronwyn Adams – Violin; Alexander Hacke – Guitar; David Eugene Edwards – Guitar; Troy Gregory – Bass, Cello; Matthew Smith – Keyboards, Synthesizer; Jim White – Drums; Danielle de Picciotto – Autoharp, Live Visuals and Art.

12 - [2013] American Twilight (CD)

01 - Goddess
02 - Riven Man
03 - My Love Takes Me There
04 - Domina
05 - The Colonel
06 - Beyond Good And Evil
07 - American Twilight
08 - Streets Of West Memphis

90.77 Mb


  1. WOW, beautiful post, thank you very much !
    Now I have the gun !!!
    Fred, Créteil, France

  2. No worries, appreciate the thanks and feedback.


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