Fated Beautiful Mistakes
Available in stores on vinyl and compact disc
The band's latest album Fated Beautiful Mistakes is has been released by Tiny Global Productions and is available in-stores everywhere from June 2nd.

Early Band Of Holy Joy material existed between the cut-up side of proto-industrial music and proponents of a more romantic musical language.

A great leap in polish led to a deal with Rough Trade and several albums which flirted with the mainstream, but when these releases failed to take off as hoped, lost years on smaller labels and self-released projects followed, until the renewed urgency of 2016's Brutalism Begins At Home EP and increasingly majestic albums on which saw Johny Brown's lyricism enter a new phase.

The common thread through the band's four decades of recordings is the foundational warmth and humanity of Brown's words. Their earliest recordings seemed garnered from street-level observations of neighbourhood people and sights. By the time of near-hit "Tactless", their songs - whatever their underlying impulses - had become immediate enough to overcome the mystery of a line like "Do you remember the swan that was shot in the park?"

Over each of their last three albums - Funambulist We Love You, Neon Primitives and Dreams Take Flight - Band Of Holy Joy has bettered itself, and may now have reached their apex, Fated Beautiful Mistakes.

We live in a time of justifiable gloom and awkward uncertainty. So it may appear cavalier to claim this album sounds revelatory in that context, but Band Of Holy Joy's strength rests in their ability to capture a wider societal feeling. One listen to the escapist fantasy of "Our Flighty Season In The Dirty Sun" and its slightly-haunted ending speaks volumes beyond most of what passes for music in 2023. It's just one of many perfect moments on this album.

Band Of Holy Joy - Fated Beautiful Mistakes

Johny Brown, Band Of Holy Joy 2023, photograph by Paul Hudson

Louder Than War

Band of Holy Joy albums get increasingly difficult to write about because they are so out on their own that if you describe them in the florid, gushing torrents of verbiage they merit, then the uninitiated may be put off... Just mentioning Bowie in the same breath means people's expectations are high... David Bowie is still very dead – sings Johny on one song. City People resembles Heroes in its construction. Fated Beautiful Mistakes does have a blackstar feel about it – Without the finality I hope and pray. It does have more of an overall feeling of contentment though, but an undertow of melancholy... Johnys ‘unique’ distinctive vocal style is maybe what has stopped the Band of Holy Joy crossing the cult/mainstream divide. You could say, unkindly, that ‘He can't carry a tune in a bucket’ but he can hold our heart in his hands and inspire us to believe that there is hope and goodness and beauty in the world, if we only keep looking; in nature, art and the right people. He has soul and his voice is so loaded with it, it does ‘wobble’ a bit... New York Romantic has a chorus to die for ‘Everyone loves to love, Oh to always love and be loved’ and Terry Edwards excels himself on sax. The whole band gel beautifully backing up Johnys poetry – James Stephen Finn proves himself to be one of the UK's very best guitar-players in terms of providing beautiful, perfect accompaniment to the words and feel of the songs. Lyrical, passionate playing which reaches it's apex on Full Bloom of Roses... Fated Beautiful Mistakes is an album that everyone should hear and hopefully take to their heart. Songs that make you feel less alone. More optimistic and free to grasp hope and love where and when you can, while you can.
Ged Babey
Uncut Magazine
Four decades on from their self-released debut cassette, Johny Brown's perpetually undervalued, proudly indie collective continue to chronicle troubled souls and kitchen sink drama. Always captivating, his distinctive vocals lurch from a distraught warble to a strangulated wail, "composed of many humours", as he sings on "New York Romantic", and "vulnerable to pernicious tumours". His band, meanwhile, welcome Terry Edwards, who blows up a storm on that same Sea Power-esque tune, while the incredulously starry-eyed "Our Flighty Season In The Dirty Sun" is full of cheerful shalalas and "City People" apes Bowie's "Heroes" on a shoestring budget.
Wyndham Wallace
Narc. Magazine
Why Johny Brown isn't lauded as one of England's greatest lyricists is an unfathomable mystery. The North Shields-raised polymath has fronted Band Of Holy Joy since the early 80's, but the group has has an astonishing run of form over the last seven years, with every release surpassing its predecessor. Fated Beautiful Mistakes continues this extraordinary upward trajectory. Brown's lyrics challenge and inspire the listener to be fully alive and conscious of the beauty and fragility of life, while never shying away from the gravity of the state of the world in these disorienting times. Musically, Band Of Holy Joy have reached a new peak, evoking Scott Walker, The Velvet Underground even Nelson Riddle-era Sinatra on this gorgeous, warm-hearted and passionate album.
Gus Ironside
Mojo Magazine
Ever since Johny Brown set sail its third iteration in 2007, Band Of Holy Joy have refused to stay static, tackling modern ills without a thought for the past. Their latest lands somewhere between cinematic indie pop and thrusting deep soul on New York Romantic, with Our Flighty Season In The Dirty Sun adding a gospel twist to its big parcel of yearning. While fuller orchestrations (strings, saxes, flutes) recall their Rough Trade tenure in the early '90s, it's grounded by James Stephen Finn's tremolo guitars and Peter Smith's '60s organ, a tinge of Bowie's "Heroes" pulsing through City People's wassailing grandeur. Brown is at his most reflective, vulnerable, and tender here, his poetic befuddlements betraying a quest for spiritual elevation over abductive melodies.
Andy Cowan
Record Collector
There's a growing consensus that, four decades in, Band Of Holy Joy are testifying better than ever. They've always been worthy, even valuable, but their recent run of albums, leading to this impassioned stormer, seems to fuse spirit and substance; it's poetry, but it's also magniloquent music. Johny Brown's lyrics address, obliquely or directly, our contemporary, morally threadbare world - what a great song title Instagram Moon is - but also shoot for timeless grandeur from well-read gutters as New York Romantic, A Citadel Of Crooked Soul and Babylon Farewell attest. His voice is a rich flavour, and some may need an occasional break from its in-your-face emoting, but the astute band can play baroque or bar-room, showbiz or smalltown. Sanctify this.
Chris Roberts
Vive Le Rock
Band Of Holy Joy have enjoyed a consistent run of strong releases since 2016's Brutalism Beings At Home. This latest album solidifies on this recent creative flush, offering a shimmering flare of optimism for these conflicting times. Johny Brown's intimate vocal style conveys both societal awareness and a fundamental human warmth - precious commodities in this current climate. There's a sense of lush, romanticised idealism to this set, palpable from the opening bars of Lighthouse Keeper, through the dare-to-dream wistfulness of A Citadel Of Crooked Soul, to the magnificent Flighty Season In The Dirty Sun, while City People comes over like a misplaced cousin to Bowie's Heroes. It's tempting to read Fated Beautiful Mistakes as an artistic rejection of more pernicious realities; or perhaps even a signpost to better days?
Hugh Gulland
James Stephen Finn, Band Of Holy Joy 2023, photograph by Paul Hudson
Peter Smith, Band Of Holy Joy 2023, photograph by Paul Hudson
Music Videos
Johny Brown, Band Of Holy Joy 2023, photograph by Paul Hudson
Formed from the ashes of an unrecorded '77 punk band, Speed, Band Of Holy Joy's initial musical forays were largely in the domain of industrial bricolage and occasional bursts of madness.

By the time they began releasing records under their own name in the 1980s, the band's humanist tendencies came to the fore, with astounding portraits of people on the periphery, resulting in such classics as Rosemary Smith, Mad Dot and Don't Stick Knives In Babbies Heads.

The sharp sensibilities of founder and leader Johny Brown eventually led to a star-making deal with Rough Trade, a few near hits and career momentum shattered when the label collapsed mere days after what might have been the band's breakthrough album.

Slowly, a new Band Of Holy Joy has blossomed. The band operates, well, differently. In some aspects, they're an art collective. Inspired by the possibilities which burst forth after punk, the band's expression takes many forms. Visual artist Inga Tillere plays a large role in shaping the band's aesthetic and live events, and in musical foil James Stephen Finn, Daryl Holley, Brenno Balbino and Peter Smith. Johny's poetic vision transcends expectations without resorting to desperate reaches into esoterica.

The Band Of Holy Joy model of today is a sleek beat outfit that owes as much to indie music in the proper sense of indie as it does to the Brechtian connotations of past Band Of Holy Joy incarnations. They have lineage but never dwell on it preferring to forge forward. They have a history too but never let it drag them back. For the past few years they have been quietly growing and gestating and now they have emerged fully reborn with renewed purpose of sound and vision.

Johny Brown [vocals] | James Stephen Finn [guitar] | Peter Smith [organ & synthesizer] | Conor Fensom [bass] | Joseph Sergi [drums] | Inga Tillere [visuals]
James Stephen Finn, Band Of Holy Joy 2023, photograph by Paul Hudson

2023. Fated Beautiful Mistakes [vinyl/CD] released on Tiny Global Productions. (purchase..)
2021. Dreams Take Flight [vinyl/CD] released on Tiny Global Productions. (purchase..)
2019. Neon Primitives [vinyl/CD] released on Tiny Global Productions. (purchase..)
2017. Funambulist We Love You [vinyl/CD] released on Tiny Global Productions. (purchase..)
2016. Favourite Fairytales For Juvenile Delinquents [vinyl box compilation] released on Vinyl-on-demand.
2015. The Land Of Holy Joy [CD] released on Stereogram Recordings.
2014. Easy Listening [CD] released on Exotic Pylon.
2013. City Of Tales: Volume 1 & 2 [cassette] released on Exotic Pylon.
2012. The North Is Another Land [CD] released on Moloko Plus.
2011. How To Kill A Butterfly [CD] released on Exotic Pylon.
2010. Paramour [CD] released on Radio Joy.
2008. Punklore [CD]
2002. Love Never Fails [CD] released on Rough Trade.
1992. Tracksuit Vendetta [vinyl/CD] released on Ecuador.
1990. Positively Spooked [vinyl/CD/cassette] released on Rough Trade.
1989. Manic, Magic, Majestic [vinyl/CD/cassette] released on Rough Trade.
1988. The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea [cassette] released on Cause For Concern.
1987. More Tales From The City [vinyl/cassette] released on Flim Flam Productions.
1987. When Stars Come Out To Play [vinyl] released on ByeBye Baby.
1986. The Big Ship Sails [vinyl] released on Flim Flam Productions.
1984. More Favourite Fairytales [cassette] released on Pleasantly Surprised.
1983. Favourite Fairytales For Juvenile Delinquents [cassette]

Extended Plays
2017. Brutalism Begins At Homes [vinyl] released on Tiny Global Productions. (purchase..)
2012. Wyrd Beautiful Thyme [vinyl] released on Exotic Pylon. (purchase..)
2009. A Lucky Thief In A Careless World [CD] released on Radio Joy.

2022. Everyone Is Searching For Beautiful Things [CD] released on Tiny Global Productions. (purchase..)
2017. The Clouds That Break The Sky [CD] released on Tiny Global Productions. (purchase..)
2007. Leaves That Fall In Spring... [CD] released on Cherry Red.
Johny Brown and Peter Smith, Band Of Holy Joy 2023, photograph by Paul Hudson

Bad Punk
Resonance 104.4FM
Every Friday night at 10PM on Resonance FM. Processed sounds, esoteric tunes and random text. Occasional derives into radio drama and other mediums brought to a few discerning listeners by Band Of Holy Joy.

Tune in on DAB and FM within central London, or online worldwide.


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Band Of Holy Joy. Photograph by Paul Hudson, 2023.