Asylum Party – Borderline

This album from a French synth band just missed the ‘cold wave’ at the end of the 80s and, as a result, is a fascinating and collectable rarity…

The 80s were filled with post-punk and gothic-rock bands, generally catering to a niche market. While several crossed over into mainstream pop, some were destined to stay obscure, garnering only cult status. Some records, unknown to the masses descended into underground lore and became collector’s items over time.

One such act was French synth band Asylum Party. They gained notoriety as part of the burgeoning ‘cold wave’ scene alongside Little Nemo and Mary Goes Round, and with second album Borderline, they truly hit their creative peak. The eight tracks drew from the British ‘dark wave’ movement, while adding extra synths and textures for the cold, icy feel the scene was developing.

Sadly, by the time Borderline was released in 1989, the scene had started to move on, spearheaded by The Cure becoming a bona-fide pop band, and Asylum Party were unable to capitalise on what was once a fertile genre.

The record itself was pressed in a very limited quantity by French indie label Lively Art, and is now incredibly hard to track down. Copies in the wild were either played to death by adoring fans, or hidden away as prized possessions. Very few ever come up for sale, but prices have reached around £195, with a sealed copy for sale at a higher price.

Despite this rarity, their influence is still apparent today. Soft Kill (who released a split with Asylum Party in 2017) cite them as a major inspiration, and traces of their sound can be heard in Black Marble, Drab Majesty, Choir Boy and others.

Glen Bushel