Red Zebra - The Beauties of the Beast

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Finally again a brand new compilation available on CD of the best 80’s work of the iconic Belgian punk/wave band, including some rarities !

1978. Punk has already passed its peak in the UK but The Sex Pistols and co have finally made it to Flanders. This delay is not surprising if you consider there was no MTV, Studio Brussel or internet. The punk virus also spreads to Bruges, probably imported by British tourists looking for liqueur pralines. Four young local lads without any musical background founded The Bungalows, a nod to the weird Beatles song ‘The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill’. First they cover ‘Mongoloid’ by DEVO but soon after they play their own songs with titles such as ‘No Kojaks in Belgium’ and ‘Mixomatose girl’. When punk starts to fade into the background, the baton is passed on to new wave which suits the group better.

The name is changed to Red Zebra, which in turn is a nod to the ‘Red Brigades’ in Italy, they are The Cure's support act and the group makes it to the final of ‘Humo’s Rock Rally’ in 1980. Here they released a new song: ‘I can’t live in a Living Room’, a title with which singer Peter Slabbynck perfectly captures the zeitgeist, supported by a riff of guitarist Geert Maertens that sticks in your head. And the rest is history. The group is picked up abroad and even John Peel plays them. But the real high point comes in 1981 when Red Zebra released the mini-album ‘Bastogne’. 5 of some of the best new wave songs ever to be produced in Belgium.

The rest is a story of falling over and starting afresh, including a number of strong songs on the album ‘Maquis’ in 1983. The group stayed active for another two decades and released a handful of studio and live albums but Red Zebra's momentum is clearly in the extremely creative early eighties, a period which produced a huge amount of adventurous music which is still very enjoyable. Thus also this compilation of a band which at their peak had a generous hand in some of the most iconic songs in Belgian rock history


1. I can’t Live in a Living Room
2. Innocent People
3. Graveyard Shuffle
4. Crimes of Passion
5. I’m Falling Apart
6. TV Activity
7. Bastogne
8. Shadows of Doubt
9. The Ultimate Stranger
10. The Art of Conversation
11. Man Comes from Ape
12. Lust
13. The Beauty of the Beast
14. Polar Club
15. Beirut by Night
16. Mice and Men
17. Paradise Lost
18. Search Party