Author: Lord Audiopile
Look Blue Go Purple were part of Flying Nun’s ‘second wave’ (along with Doublehappys, Straitjacket Fits and the Abel Tasmans). Formed in 1983, they honed their sound in a Dunedin practice room under a record shop, where they developed a distinctive style with layered vocal harmonies, keyboards (and even flute) over trademark Dunedin guitar strum and solid tribal beats. They released three EPs before calling it a day. Though they’d made a conscious call to play with other women, LBGP never labeled themselves as a “feminist” or “girl” band, and grew tired of being endlessly asked about gender in interviews. “Gender has nothing to do with it,” they said.
Look Blue Go Purple comprised Canadian-born bass player, Kathy Bull (now Francisca Griffin) and keyboard player and vocalist, Norma O’Malley, who were both in the band Permanent Tourists with Martyn Bull (The Elevators, The Chills). Inspired by British bands such as The Slits and The Raincoats and wanting to play with other women, they drafted guitarists Denise Roughan and Kath Webster, and drummer Lesley Paris. Whilst the quintet certainly had the distinctive jangly, gently psychedelic, lo-fi Flying Nun sound, the combined vocals of Roughan, Webster and O’Malley found their own striking synthesis that made them stand out from other groups of the time.