Lush – Mad Love

Coming after the mini-album Scar, the Robin Guthrie produced Mad Love marked the arrival of the definitive sound of Lush.  It was also the last time Steve Rippon appeared on Bass he was replaced by Phil King after. Recorded in The Church which was Dave Stewart’s studio with not too much production over the top.

The opener De-Luxe is intoxicating dreamy with an infectious melody that sounds like the sun rising on a clear morning.  Leaves Me Cold allegedly is about an inappropriate dream that Miki Berenyi had.  I always thought of the vocals in Lush songs as extra instruments and never listened to the actual words. Downer showcases the Emma/Miki chorus singing.  The version of Thoughtforms on this EP is different to the one released on Scar, Lush must really love this song because it was reworked again in the album Gala.

Mad Love’s title is a rough translation of L’amour fou, the title of a 1937 photographic novel by French surrealist writer André Breton. Guitarist Emma Anderson suggested the idea for the title to Berenyi after the latter received a telephone call from 4AD co-founder Ivo Watts-Russell requesting a title for the record in less than an hour. Bassist Steve Rippon considered it a “heavy metal title … like Led Zeppelin”, while Berenyi said it was reminiscent of the 1987 film Crazy Love (this was directly lifted from Wikipedia)

‘Mad Love (EP)’ 2019, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation Inc., viewed 19 May 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Love_(EP)

Lush : Mad Love

De-Luxe              
Leaves Me Cold
Downer
Thoughtforms

Advertisements

Top – Emotion Lotion

The scouse trio Top, made a fine album and then disappeared off the map without a trace. Way ahead of their time, for their time. Top was comprised of Alan Willis, Joe Fearon and Paul Cavanagh who appeared at the end of the baggy madchester scene. With songs such as Buzzin’ it is clear that Top were part of this and the rave scene. I like to think that they got their name from the rave mantra top one, nice one, get sorted. What seems really strange is that there is really not very much known about Top. They went when the baggy bubble burst. I do seem to remember one of them always wore a sweatshirt with thick vertical stripes, very early nineties. There are rumours that Joe did some DJing in a Liverpool club called La’go and he would get embarrassed if anyone mentioned his former band, and Paul was in indie combo Smaller. Other than that, not much can be found out.

Their album Emotion Lotion is well crafted and melodic like their fellow Liverpudlians, The Real People and The La’s. I have always thought that the psychedelic Real People song Open Up Your Mind (Let Me In) should of been recorded by Top. The album is a minor classic that didn’t even set Merseyside on fire. It has a bit of everything on it Number One Dominator is drenched in baggy wah, Buzzin’ is inspired by MDMA, Soul Magic is wistful and so the record proceeds. It is like a slice of the early nineties on a plate.

Unfortunately Top were in the wilderness years, too late for Madchester and too early for Britpop.

Top : Emotion Lotion

Number One Dominator
Buzzin
Soul Magic
Hi Baby Hi
Goodnight
Feel Good
Love By Demand
Easy
As Far As I Can See
She’s Got All The World
Life’s Only Dreaming

 

Birdland – Hollow Heart

A breakneck debut single, performed by the peroxide bobbed hair four piece from the midlands. An absolute firecracker of a debut, it still hangs onto a melody despite being incredibly fast. It is one of those times when you think to yourself that the record player has switched to 78rpm. Completely over the top and ridiculous, which is why they are worth a place in musical history. There is little to differentiate between the songs, each has buzzsaw, giddy guitar solos that complement the vocal rush of lyrics.

Completely different to what was going on in the wistful indie scene. Which was introverted and whimsical. Just imagine this being performed by Birdland live, with onstage synchronised formation pogoing. This is the sound that they create on the single.

Birdland : Hollow Heart

Hollow Heart
Crystal
Gotta Get Away
Sugar Blood

Manic Street Preachers – Generation Terrorists

It is time to delve back into the archives. I was reading about Birdland the other day and it occurred to me that way back in the early nineties the Manic Street Preachers were considered a poor relation to the peroxide four piece. This inspired me to update a post from the past.

It was in 1992 I saw the Manic Street Preachers, at Southampton University. Richey was still there. It was only recently the “4 Real” incident took place. When Steve Lamacq asked Richey about his conviction to the punk cause. Richey promptly carved “4 Real” into his forearm with a razor blade to prove his devotion to the cause.

The support was the Wildhearts who were a little too roooccckkk for my whimsical shoegazing ways. Then the Manics appeared. They were riding high on the back of their success with ’Love’s Sweet Exile’. Nicky

shouted at a fan brandishing a camera, ’I’d rather die than have my photograph taken’. They stopped because someone was smoking in the crowd. Then they left. The whole concert was shorter than See See Rider’s back catalogue. It lasted all of 30 minutes, if that.

It is time to delve back into the archives. I was reading about Birdland the other day and it occurred to me that way back in the early nineties the Manic Street Preachers were considered a poor relation to the peroxide four piece. This inspired me to update a post from the past.

It was in 1992 I saw the Manic Street Preachers, at Southampton University. Richey was still there. It was
only recently the “4 Real” incident took place. When Steve Lamacq asked Richey about his conviction to the punk cause. Richey promptly carved “4 Real” into his forearm with a razor blade to prove his devotion to the cause.

The support was the Wildhearts who were a little too roooccckkk for my whimsical shoegazing ways. Then the Manics appeared. They were riding high on the back of their success with Love’s Sweet Exile. Nicky shouted at a fan brandishing a camera, ’I’d rather die than have my photograph taken’. They stopped because someone was smoking in the crowd. Then they left. The whole concert was shorter than See See Rider’s back catalogue. It lasted all of 30 minutes, if that.

Manic Street Preachers : Generation Terrorists

Slash N’ Burn
Nat West-Barclays-Midlands-Lloyds
Born To End
Motorcycle Emptiness
You Love Us
Love’s Sweet Exile
Little Baby Nothing
Repeat (Stars And Stripes)
Tennessee
Another Invented Disease
Stay Beautiful
So Dead
Repeat (UK)
Spectators Of Suicide
Damn Dog
Crucifix Kiss
Methadone Pretty
Condemned To Rock ‘N’ Roll

14 Iced Bears – Inside

The debut single from 14 Iced Bears, Inside. Released on their own Frank record label in that classic year for indiepop 1986.  14 Iced Bears were always associated with Sarah records but it looks like Come Get Me was their only Sarah release but it appears on Air Balloon Road and Shadow Factory compilations.

It would be obvious to think that they are twee, even their moniker has a saccharine taste.
But Inside and Blue Suit has thumping drums and a deranged guitar sound.

14 Iced Bears : Inside

Inside
Blue Suit
Cut

The Fall ‎– The Frenz Experiment

When talking about The Fall John Peel said, ”they are always different, they are always the same.” This is true despite the ever changing lineups the whole experience is the same. Mark E. Smith looked liked he had lived the three decades of rock and roll to the full. When he appears onstage, I at once felt relieved that I had given up smoking. .

I first saw The Fall just over 25 years ago, which is recent in their 40+ year history, it was at Glastonbury in 1992. Between every song people were shouting, Hit the North. This was their most famous song and was made popular by Mark Radcliffe’s BBC Radio 5 programme of the same name.

Hit the North is on the album The Frenz Experiment which contains most of The Fall’s commercial songs such as There’s A Ghost In My House and a cover of the Kinks’ Victoria.  There is some criticism that the cover versions on this album are not performed with enough irony and they are a cash-in.  Yet other songs such as Frenz are completely uncommercial, held together very loosely by Smith’s vocals. Guest Informant is one of the all time classic Fall moments, it’s paranoid and quirky at the same time. A song about a hotel that becomes a deranged scene from Cluedo,

The miserable Scottish hotel,
Resembled a Genesis or Marillion, 1973 LP cover

This album featured Brix Smith (before she went off with violinist Nigel Kennedy), and her and Marcia Schofield (keyboards) on the album cover has a strangely glamorous feel.  Each different format of the album has different songs on it.  It is not the best Fall album, but it was released at a time when indie music was gaining mainstream recognition.

The Fall ‎: The Frenz Experiment

Frenz
Carry Bag Man
Get A Hotel
Victoria
Athlete Cured
In These Times
The Steak Place
Bremen Nacht (Alternative)
Guest Informant (Excerpt)
Oswald Defence Lawyer
Tuff Life Booogie
Guest Informant
Twister
There’s A Ghost In My House
Hit The North Part 1

The Boo Radleys – Every Heaven

Almost immediately after it’s release in 1991, Rough Trade collapsed (until the labels resurrection in the late 90s). The Boo Radleys were snapped up by Creation Records. Rough Trade were in difficultly beforehand, and their demise is nothing to do with The Boo Radleys. Rough Trade had told them that they did not have enough money to fund an album from The Boo Radleys.

Every Heaven is, not unlike the other early EPs, but produced by Alan Moulder. Its shows that they were not just another shoegaze band, as they started to show their influences. It is a massive leap in terms of quality from the Ichabod and I. The beginning of The Finest Kiss has a New Order bass opening. Which carries on throughout the song but is lost at times with the crashing roaring guitars. Tortoiseshell is a big track with grandeur the guitars alternating with the vocals. Bluebird is an upbeat tune, and lastly, Naomi is a slice of early 90s psychedelic indie. The guitars grind and swirl at the same time.

The Boo Radleys – Every Heaven 

The Finest Kiss
Tortoiseshell
Bluebird
Naomi