In the case of Fourwaycross nothing seems to follow a streight timeline. From the mix of post punk/early industrial british sound with the 60s heritage and the always present West Coast psychedelia to their chronologically confusing discography, everything helps the time factor disappear. Maybe this is the reason why their music can be easily sound interesting and special even today, over 20 years after their beak-up. Fourwaycross started in 1985 with Tom Dolan, Steve Gerdes, Biff Sanders and Courtney Davies, created their own studio and label (Motiv Communications), released a cassette, two LPs (Fill The Sky, 1985 and Home 1986) and one EP (Shimmer, 1987 - without Tom Dolan) and seemed to disband in 1987. In 1988 Nate Starkman & Son released their first cassete (titled Product One) on vinyl. In 1989 they released another LP (On the Other Hand) with songs written between 1986 and 1989 and in 1990 another release (the 10' Pendulum) came out with old recordings (1984-89). Fourwaycross and Motiv Communications were part of a community which included the Alternator magazine (published by Tom Dolan), the Motiv Communications recording studio (where many L.A. bands recorded, like Red Temple Spirits, Marnie, 17 Pygmies) and of course a core of artists who participated on each others recordings: Biff Sanders (also member of Blissed Out Fatalists) in Ethyl Meatplow, Ethyl Meatplow and Brad Laner on Fouraycross' "On the Other Hand", Beth Thompson and Biff Sanders on Doubting Thomas' Another Way of Knowing etc. After this rather useless introduction, let's go on to the music: Fourwaycross, although short-lived, walked a rather long way, musically, from the industrial, harsh melodies of their early recordings to the long, dark and lyrical mantras of "Home" and "On The Other Hand".
This is their first release, originally came out on cassette on their own
label, Motive Communications, in 1985, under the title "Product One" (where the above cover) - re-released from Nate Starkman & Son/Fundamental, in 1988 -with the original mix, as far as I know. The album starts with the sound of a storm, soon to be covered under the low notes of a cello. The next three tracks are the more "industrial" sounding, while the rest of the record flows into much more "melodic" atmosphere. Over these harsh, often primitive rhythms of the Gerdes and Sanders rhythm section, Dolan adds his Ian Curtis-like vocals and colors them with his guitar and Courtney Davie's flute (sometimes close to 17 Pygmies sound). Fourwaycross more than often can be found under the tag "goth", but I think they only distantly touch this genre, although I cannot deny a certain gloomy feeling and an all over the place melancholy.
Tracklist Intro/When Will You/Apologize/Sharpened Knives Long Talk/Driving Thru Trees/MF/Strictly Morphine ....
Steve Gerdes, Larry Frick, and Biff Sanders are now in DNATURED that released an EP, coupla years ago (Steve also is an award-winning art director in the music industry) Tom Dolan doesn't seem to be active musically today (the only trace of him after Doubting Thomas, was in a band named Aether (with Steve Gerdes) that didn't released anything. Beth Thompson went on to Medicine (with Brad Laner) and today is in the Shway with Steve Gerdes. According to their myspace page they have their first CD out.
Phoenix Hairpins has posted Blissed Out Fatalists (another Motiv Communications band), Mutant Sounds has posted several Steaming Coils records, as for Marnie, 17 Pygmies and the rest of the L.A scene you know where you can find them.