Indie Hits saw Telstar make one of its occasional forays into the alternative scene. You’ll recall the memorable Product 2378 and Rave (both 1990) which were a pair of qualified triumphs. We get 16 tracks with James, Curve, Daisy Chainsaw, Lush, The Wonder Stuff, EMF, Jesus Jones, The Sugarcubes, Ride and Teenage Fanclub getting top sleeve billing. Three tunes also appeared on contemporary rival Indie Top 20 Volume 14: Lush – For Love, Daisy Chainsaw – Love Your Money and The Sugarcubes – Hit.
“Ape your father’s sins, your mother’s mood swings, to perfection.” It’s nice to start off with a James track that isn’t from the Gold Mother era. This effectively spanned two years which had begun with the unsuccessful Rough Trade single releases of Sit Down and Come Home and ended with the former’s 1991 success. Sound emerged as those fading autumn leaves fell, a stirring gathering er, sound. We get the 7″ mix, considerably shorter than the version on the Seven LP. It’ll haunt you for many years afterwards. Next come Ride and the blistering psychedelic metal of Leave Them All Behind. “Beautiful guitar, I can swim in the sound.” All that bass and exploding drums. The song that cemented shoegaze. The album Going Blank Again drove the point home and still brings forth a torrent of pure emotion every time I play it. A true hurricane of intensity, not forgetting the wah-wah at 6:15. “This noise, melody and singing just make my heart ache with nostalgia.” (M Iwa)
Curve’s Doppelgänger came out on 9 March 1992, the same day as Ride’s second LP. I bought both on the day and played the Curve LP while lying in bed, lights out, curtains open. Contemplating. A disturbing listen, accentuated by the broken dolls on the outer and inner sleeves. Fait Accompli, the lead track is here in 7″ form, still sounding like the future. By that stage of the year, The Wedding Present were one quarter of their way through their master plan to release one 7″ single each month. Three came out in March, another purchase from Our Price in Tallaght. It’s more intense than Blue Eyes or Go-Go Dancer, a plaintive knockabout lament. Each single came with a cover on the B-Side; in this instance it was a novel retread through Altered Images’ Think That It Might. The concept, collected on The Hit Parade 1 & 2 led to a dozen top 30 hits during 1992 with just three of them staying on the charts for more than one week. The first half is definitely the best – peaking with June’s California, an NME SOTW; by December the band had clearly got tired of the concept as the material became more throwaway and the covers anodyne.
Price points ending in 98p were brought in by Borderline Records. In a lot of cases, 12″ singles would drop to £1.98 after a few weeks. Teenage Fanclub’s What You Do Me was one such example, released on 27 January – a short, sharp burst of frantic power pop. Meanwhile The Wonder Stuff were hitting their stride on their fiddly LP #3 Never Loved Elvis; the stomping Size Of A Cow went top 5, a buoyant rush that leads neatly – raggle taggle style – into The Levellers’ Dick Whittington-like anthem One Way. A stirring call to arms, caned on CD jukeboxes across the land. Slowly the tempo rises with the next track – Primal Scream’s joyous Screamadelica-opener Movin’ On Up which was the lead track on the Dixie Narco 12″. They covered a Beach Boys track written by Dennis Wilson – Carry Me Home – for the EP. As did Lush – one of his best solo tunes, Fallin’ In Love AKA Lady.
We go back to baggy for the next sequence. Silvertone mined yet another single from The Stone Roses’ debut – Waterfall – more than two and a half year after the emergence of the album. It’s good to hear the 7″ edit here. We laughed when EMF released their follow-up to Unbelievable. Reason – it had the word “believe” in the title. I Believe was a frantic piano pounder and rumour had it that single #3 would be I Don’t Believe Anything. And International Bright Young Thing still remains a bit of a mouthful for Jesus Jones fans. Elsewhere Mega City Four – another McGonagles gig I saw in 1992 – grew up a bit with the mature & reflective Stop. The same four songs were on the 7″ but the quality was poor. Another £1.98 12″ as was the follow-up Shivering Sand. Finally it’s the timeless shuffle of Thousand Yard Stare’s Comeuppance, a loping slice of earnest guitar harmonies. Happy?
Curve – Fait Accompli
Ride – Leave Them All Behind
Lest we forget
Thousand Yard Stare – Comeuppance