Not as strong as some of their Factory Records labelmates -- such as New Order, the Durutti Column, and A Certain Ratio -- Section 25 followed a similar course, providing a link between electronics-based new wave and the burgeoning indie dance movement of the mid- to late '80s. Formed in Blackpool in 1978 by brothers Larry and Vincent Cassidy, Section 25 later added guitarist Paul Wiggin and a drummer who quit soon afterwards. With an early template similar to Joy Division's atmospheric post-punk, the group played around England during 1979 and released its debut single, "Girls Don't Count" (produced by JD's Ian Curtis), in early 1980. After several European gigs supporting New Order, the band signed to Factory later that year and released its debut album, Always Now, in 1981.
During 1982, the group finally added another drummer (Lee Shallcross), toured the U.S., and released its second album, Key of Dreams, on Factory's European subsidiary, Factory Benelux. By the end of the year, the Cassidys grew frustrated with their approach to music and quit the business; six months later, however, they were back as a full band -- with Shallcross plus new additions, including Larry Cassidy's wife Jenny and Angela Flowers. Adding more electronics, Section 25 returned in 1984 with From the Hip, an album that earned release worldwide, including the band's first (and only) American release (on Factory U.S.). The band also scored an underground club hit with the album's penetrating "Looking from a Hilltop." Recorded two years later, but not released until 1988, Love and Hate was the group's last proper studio album; at that point, the lineup had been reduced to Larry and Jenny Cassidy.
Section 25 reconvened in 2000, but a few years later, Jenny Cassidy's life was taken by cancer. The Cassidy brothers nonetheless kept the group afloat. Assisted by guitarist Ian Butterworth (Tunnelvision) and Roger Wikeley (bass, keyboards), Section 25 played several gigs and recorded Part-Primitiv -- featuring a couple songs with Jenny Cassidy's vocals -- released in 2007. Steve Stringer eventually replaced Wikeley, and in 2009 the group released yet another studio album, Nature + Degree. Larry and Jenny's daughter, Bethany, provided lead vocals on a pair of its songs. Larry Cassidy died of a blood clot on February 27, 2010. Retrofit, an album of remixes and re-recordings that was near completion before his passing, arrived in September of that year. The band supported its release with a series of U.K. shows featuring Bethany as vocalist. ~ John Bush