Formed in December 1981 as a two piece consisting of editor of Coventry fanzine Adventures in Reality, Alan Rider, and editor of Nuneaton Fanzine Damn Latin, Phil Clarke, Stress combined electronic rhythms, sequence and keyboards with bass guitar, vocals, percussion, cut – up tapes, and a variety of acoustic instruments to provide a sound that fused commercial & experimental elements with a pointed lyrical edge.
They began by releasing two cassette albums, ‘Help Comes Too Late’ and ‘Restraint’ on Alan’s own Adventures in Reality Recordings label and also featured on numerous cassette compilations worldwide. Click to hear the tracks ‘Nothing New’ and ”The Pulse Thickens” from “Restraint”. Their first gig was at the Nuneaton Nags Head on 4th June 1982, followed by others in the Midlands and London.
October 1984, saw the first vinyl release, the track ‘The Prayer Clock’ on Third Mind Records ‘Life At The Top’ compilation LP, followed by a track ‘Tear It Down’ on the ’Compulsory Overtime’ compilation LP in the United States. July 1985 saw the release of the first full LP by Stress entitled ‘The Big Wheel‘, also on Adventures in Reality Recordings (ARR 014). More gigs and press followed and the album took the Number 1 spot in the NME’s electronic charts, with the track “Elizabeth Selwyn becoming a club hit in Belgium.
Stress split in September 1985 shortly after a move to London, playing their farewell gig later that month headlining a two day festival ‘The Glass Bell House’ in East London. Phil continued on for a time, recording a demo with a new partner but called it a day shortly after, moving back to Nuneaton to record and releasing a solo CD ‘Beat Supremacy’ under the name Patternclear (which has just been re-released as a download on Germany’s Vuz Records) Alan remained in London and formed Dance Naked who recorded an album “The Hidden God” and gigged around the country before they too split in 1988.
Stress re-formed briefly in 1991 to record two tracks in London for a ‘best of’ compilation album “Nostalgia”. More recently, a retrospective LP “Conspiracy Theory” on San Francisco Label Dark Entries, containing re-mastered tracks from the first two cassette albums, and a CD and LP re-issue of The Big Wheel LP with additional tracks on Russian Label Other Voices, are both scheduled for 2012. Click here for a taster of the Conspiracy Theory and here for a taster of The Big Wheel re-issue
You can download all of the Patterclear material here: