Volume Two (Volume, 1991)

Volume 2

Volume 2 r

Review
“19 exclusive tracks
78 minute CD + thick book
300 colour pictures
30,000 words
PLUS The Meaning Of Life”

After the well received Volume One, the second instalment hit the shops during November 1991. The contributors: David Cavanagh, Keith Cameron, John Harris, Sam King, Graham Linehan, Arthur Mathews, Mick Mercer, Paul Mathur, Simon Reynolds, John Robb, Dave Simpson, Tommy Udo, Cathi Unworth, Jon Wilde. The fish were still there (photos Linda Pitkin) but the tone and background had faded to black. Telephone number 0904 652524.

Barry Adamson provides the atmospheric opening track Odio-Amor, Odio-Amor, taken from the upcoming Gas Food Lodging Original Soundtrack. It may be slight – just 1:12 in duration – but the interview tipped me off about exploring the world of soundtracks. It’s followed by Lush’s inventive Tiny Smiles, a taster for the debut album Spooky which came out at the end of January 1992. Their Rock Garden gig doubled up as a most joyful 20th birthday celebration for me. The accompanying feature consists of amusing & irreverent psychoanalysis and was conducted when Steve Rippon was still in the band. We then get into the moody zone with the self-referencing rock of Aeroplane Blues (Blue Aeroplanes whose Swagger and Beat Songs were key records for me, particularly in Waterford ’90 & ’91) and MC 900 Ft Jesus’ Killer Inside Me – actually an edited down version of the Meat Beat Manifestation #2), the ace instrumental remix found on all formats of the single.

I started going to McGonagles club nights in October 1991. Thursday was Panic, Saturday Sonic Boom. Nine Inch Nails’ Head Like A Hole was a memorable floor-filler and appears here in an alternative version. It’s followed by some impressive doom-laden indie in the form of Sweden’s Whipped Cream (influenced by Herb Alpert in terms of artwork but no more). Mr Green had previously been on a flexidisc so to have it on CD then was brilliant. All fired-up, Spirea X treat us to Signed DC, an acoustic take to the Fireblade Skies album track. In the magazine, Jim Beattie comes across as an angry young man with forthright views. And Blur, fresh off touring Leisure, confirm that they’re not ashamed of their very comfortable backgrounds – in fairness, they shouldn’t be. We get a previously unreleased song – the amazing Oily Water – which would appear on Modern Life Is Rubbish some 18 months later. Top bass playing, great distorted guitar tone and a most apocalyptic finale.

After a somewhat protracted – for the time – absence, The Sugarcubes were making waves in late 1991. Not the most immediate of tunes, Hetero Scum is listed as being taken from their upcoming album “Gold”. In the end, it was titled Stick Around For Joy. We change direction with Definition Of Sound’s dubbed-out When A Lion Awakens – the original full length (double version). The blissful beats of Gold (Remix) is the work of Celestial Tribes but ended up never being released so is exclusive to this compilation. Next we get two true dancefloor weapons – System 7’s Miracle and Bomb The Bass’ Liquid Metal, both remixed versions from new LPs. The latter surely inspired The Prodigy’s Firestarter. And In a nice touch, EMF’s I Believe pops up as the Inframental Foetus Remix, taken from the recently deleted 12″. Schubert Dip was released on 7 May 1991, the same day as James Brown’s stupendously great Star Time box set. Disc 3 surely one of the greatest by anyone ever.

In 1991, Pulp had been going for 13 years but were yet to become a household name. See Now That’s What I Call Music 1994: The Millennium Series for my brief opinion on those early years. She’s Dead is a mournful dirge, but one of the better things on the mediocre Separations which was actually recorded in 1989. I still prefer Suede’s She’s Not Dead and / or He’s Dead. No-Man pop up again with Kiss Me Stupid, a heady trip down made for floating down unknown canals. That just leaves good vs evil. Curve’s Already Yours would open their debut LP Doppelganger. The original monitor balance version sounded bloody fantastic then and still does now. Finally, the inexplicably popular Gallon Drunk and the messy Ruby. Before signing off, a word about the Listen Carefully section – this is great to revisit now; 12 pages of album reviews. Glinner on A House’s I Am The Greatest while at the time, Nirvana’s Nevermind was being caned at every house party: “If you write good songs, it doesn’t matter how hard you crank ’em up, they’ll last forever.” (Keith Cameron)

Favourite tracks
Blur – Oily Water

No-Man – Kiss Me Stupid

Lest we forget
Whipped Cream – Mr Green

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1 Response to Volume Two (Volume, 1991)

  1. Pingback: Volume Four (Volume, 1992) | A Pop Fan's Dream

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