A British post-punk goth rock group influenced by the theatrics of glam rock and the bleak darkness of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Sex Gang Children were formed by vocalist Andi Sex-Gang, who needed a backing band for the supporting gigs he had talked himself into. The original lineup included guitarist Terry MacLeay, bassist Dave Roberts, and drummer Rob Stroud. Originally called the Panic Button, the group took the name Sex Gang Children from a William S. Burroughs book (the idea was borrowed from Malcolm McLaren through Boy George). Their sound was typified by dark, prominent bass; loud, pounding drums; alternately noisy and chiming guitars; high-pitched vocals; sudden shifts in tempo and mood; and a dramatic sense of melody increasingly developed over time.

After a cassette-only release in 1982 (Naked), the Sex Gang Children made their vinyl debut with a 12" EP, Beasts, produced by U.K. Subs guitarist Nicky Garrett. (Tracks from this EP, as well as other singles and the entire 1983 Sebastiane EP, were collected on the full-length version of Beasts in 1983.) That same year, the band continued their creative peak with their first full-length LP, the lavishly orchestrated Song and Legend, which was produced by Tony James of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Little new material was released thereafter, however; live albums featuring a new song or two were released in 1983 (Sex Gang Children), 1984 (Ecstasy and Vendetta Over New York), and 1986 (Nightland), as well as a tossed-off collection of remixes (Re-enter the Abyss) in 1985.

A bizarre series of personnel shifts took their toll: Stroud left to join Pink and Black around 1983 and was replaced by former Theatre of Hate drummer Nigel Preston; after the single "Mauritia Mayer," Preston was swapped to the Death Cult for their drummer, Ray Mondo, who was deported to Sierra Leone following passport difficulties on an American tour. Roberts left in 1986 to concentrate on his side project, Car Crash International, and later joined Christian Death; he was replaced by Cam Campbell, and Kevin Matthews became the new drummer. Sex-Gang began to receive solo billing, with the band credited as the Quick Gas Gang.

1985's Blind! shows Sex-Gang's orchestrations and sense of melody at their most developed, featuring several songs debuted on the live albums. However, the backing band did not last long; Sex-Gang recorded an EP under the name Dirty Roseanne with Italian keyboardist Piero Ballegi and offered a comeback album, 1989's Arco Valley, which was produced by Mick Ronson and featured the first studio-LP version of Edith Piaf's "Les Amants d'un Jour," a longtime Sex Gang live staple. A reunion took place in 1992, with Roberts coming back on board for Play With Children; the album was recorded for Cleopatra, who also reissued parts of the group's earlier output in the years to follow.

After several more releases during the '90s, Sex Gang Children surfaced in mid-2000 to release Dark Archives, a double disc featuring early demo recordings, remixes, and live cuts of the band's greatest hits. Demonstration was also released that same year. Empyre and Fall and Wrath of God both followed in early 2001. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide