Perfect Vision

Perfect Vision (1980-1986) were a Cambridge based post punk four-piece combining new electronic technologies with twin guitars, funky bass lines and strong male vocals by two singers whose voices offered very different qualities. "We played what was known at the time as Indie (think Depeche Mode but with guitars as well as synths)" - James Daniel (Bass).

Perfect Vision's strongly "anti-rockist" stance and methodologies were documented in articles by singer/guitarist Jon Lewin (Vocals/Guitars) that were published in the national press.

The band formed when members of The Students (2) combined forces with local musicians Giles Thomas (Guitars) and Steve Xerri (Vocals/Electronics/Woodwind) and after a short while dropped a live drummer in favour of a reel-to-reel backing track featuring drum machine patterns and synth parts. Extremely prolific (around the time of their debut vinyl release Jon Lewin told me the band had written and demo'd 82 songs) the band put out a series of releases on both cassette and vinyl formats in a four year period (1983-1986) before eventually folding when their career opportunities took band members in different directions.

Debut vinyl release, the "... Our Broken Crown..." 12" gained national exposure when played by John Peel on his late night Radio 1 show. Later career highlights included recording a John Owen Williams produced radio session at The BBC's Maida Vale V studio, London for John Peel (4 tracks, recorded 15th August 1984, transmitted 23rd), playing the John Peel curated ICA Rock Week (performance recorded 3rd October 1984, transmitted 26th November) and the "This Hook" video appearing in a nationally broadcast episode of the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test during a feature on Cambridge bands.

Jon Lewin went on to a career in music journalism, radio and as an author for books on the music industry. He held editorial roles at Music Week magazine and was working in radio production for the BBC at the time of his death in May 2000 aged 40.

Perfect Vision Discography Tracks


Perfect Vision - Demonstration album art Perfect Vision Demonstration Peeved Records UK 1983 Sell This Version
NCH MLP 9 Perfect Vision - Tongues Out album art Perfect Vision Tongues Out(12", MiniAlbum) Backs Records NCH MLP 9 UK 1986 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

LIAR 002 Perfect Vision - "... Our Broken Crown ..." album art Perfect Vision "... Our Broken Crown ..."(12") Leave It Art Records LIAR 002 UK 1984 Sell This Version
12NCH 101 Perfect Vision - Coincidence album art Perfect Vision Coincidence(12") Backs Records 12NCH 101 UK 1985 Sell This Version

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March 16, 2017
They would not have made spot in the Factory Records catalog, Great music, fresh and creative. "... Our Broken Crown ..." ‎& "Coincidence" are 2 master piece of post punk.


January 2, 2017
This stuff _really_ deserves to be re-released, perhaps compiled together, on CD; it's quite good.


February 27, 2015
I lived in Cambridge 1981-1986 during which time Perfect Vision were the best and most innovative band in town and their live shows were exceptional. Deservedly their talents led to involvement of cassette label "Peeved Records" of Southampton and the largest local indie label "Back Records" of Norwich and a series of independent releases on both labels that in my opinion have very much survived the tests of time. Outside their circle (I consider myself fortunate to have been on the periphery at times and usually was also down the front at their shows with my camera) very little is documented about the band and their history so I repeat below statements (both were written for publication) by band members to two bloggers who had discovered their music and documented their enthusiasm online:

Statement by Perfect Vision's (synth player, singer and sleeve designer) Steve Xerri to the GOUTROY BLOGSPOT, published 2009-09-06:

"First off is the band's debut EP, ...Our Broken Crown... It was released by Backs and recorded in various studios: Hamster Studios was a friend's home-based set-up (and the track recorded there, Drive Me, was the first one John Peel played). Hyperion Studios was owned by hippie band The Enid, and Spaceward, where Laugh At Breakage and This Hook were recorded, was the haunt of The Stranglers.

The demonstration tape was recorded mostly on 4-track (Portastudio) in rehearsal rooms, friends' bedroom studios, etc. All the material was laid down before the band released anything on vinyl through Backs. The artwork is from an inlay to the cassette. Repetition is a Bowie song, the rest the band wrote themselves. At one time the band would open their live set with the song Great Figure, its long taped intro, complete with clarinet, played in the dark before they went on stage - heady stuff! It was released on In Der Tat Records and originally distributed by Peeved. Special thanks go to Steve Hartwell, who ran Peeved and was very generous in letting the files be shared.

The Coincidence 12" was financed by Backs; they were all recorded at Spaceward studios."

Perfect Vision bassist James Daniel's band profile, written 2009-12-04, was published online at SANDRA DODD dot COM

"Here's the note he sent December 4, 2009, and I have his permission to share it:

A long time ago (1980 - 1986), there was a band called "Perfect Vision". It went through various line-up changes in the first year or two, then settled down as four people—me, Steve Xerri (pronounced Zerry), Jon Lewin (who died of a brain tumour in May 2000) and Giles Thomas.

We played what was known at the time as Indie (think Depeche Mode but with guitars as well as synths), and became slightly successful. By this I mean that we made 3 records (of which 1 was an album), all paid for and distributed by a "proper" record label rather than being self-financed, got radio airplay (mostly on local radio stations but also some on BBC Radio 1—the BBC's national pop radio station), were invited to record a session by the late John Peel for his Radio 1 programme and had an excerpt from a video we made broadcast on BBC TV's "Old Grey Whistle Test" when Andy Kershaw was doing a special on Cambridge bands (which is where we were based). But we never made any real money.

Recording the John Peel show session was the coolest thing—those sessions are recorded in the BBC's studios in Maida Vale (London). The equipment the BBC had there was amazingly advanced and a delight to work with compared with what we were accustomed to and we did some very good stuff there in a very short time.

We split up in 1986 when people's jobs started being more promising/exciting than the music-making, esp. since that meant that two of us were living and working in London when the other two were still living and working in Cambridge."

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