When you think 80s music, chances are you’re not thinking of rootsy, R&B-flavoured folk pop. This may or may not explain the reasons why Hothouse Flowers were not a household name in 1988. Yet, Bono from U2, who himself had become reacquainted with American R&B textures in time to put together Rattle and Hum that year, thought enough of this band to sign them to U2’s Mother records.
Perhaps even then, the feeling that pop music had become sterile was enough to create a niche for a band like this one. Hothouse Flowers were made up of former Dublin street musicians. They made music that was immediate and fit to be played live because that’s how you play when you’re a street musician – there is no production, or studio gadgetry to bail you out.
As such, they brought something new to the table when they finally did hit the studio. This is even if that something new was actually hearkening back to something older – the influence of Van Morrison and Tim Buckley that helped to underpin their folky sound.
The group put out a number of albums, and made themselves a modest audience although arguably with diminishing returns from the late 80s to the early 90s. Singer/keyboardist Liam O’Maonlai collaborated with Tim Finn on a side project, and other members guested on the work of others as well. In 2004, they put out a new album, Into Your Heart to critical praise.
For more information about the band, check out the Hothouse Flowers site.