Volume Six (Volume, 1993)

Volume 6

Volume 6 r

Review
As far as I recall, Volume Six arrived around April 1993 and the most eagerly awaited article were the results of their readers’ poll. So here we go (typos referring to ’93 have been corrected to ’92):
Best Band / Artist: The Orb who held off The Wedding Present, REM, The Cure & Throwing Muses.
Best New Band: Suede followed by Red House Painters, Belly, Aphex Twin & Pavement.
Best Album: REM’s Automatic For The People. And then The Orb – UF Orb, Sugar – Copper Blue, Throwing Muses – Red Heaven, Ministry – Psalm 69.
Best Single: The Orb – Blue Room. Coming next were Suede – The Drowners, Belly – Gepetto, Suede – Metal Mickey, The Wedding Present – Come Play With Me.
Best Volume Track: Cocteau Twins – Frosty The Snowman. Competition from Suede – My Insatiable One (Piano Version), The Orb – O.O.B.E. (Live), Pavement – Greenlander, Orbital – Belfast/Wasted.
Best TV Show: Have I Got News For You. Next were Absolutely Fabulous, 120 Minutes, The Word & Bottom.
Best Radio Show: John Peel – there’s a surprise. Plus Mark Goodier, XFM, Mark Radcliffe, The Mix.
Sexy Person: Toni Halliday (presumably by a landslide). Take a bow: Winona Ryder, Vanessa Paradis, Sarah Cracknell & Brett Anderson.
Best Intoxicant: Vodka, Volume, Dope, The Orb, Tequila.
Highlight Of ’92: Glastonbury, The Royal Family, Reading, The Orb live, Donita Sparks (L7) dropping her pants on The Word.
Prat of ’92: Morrissey holding off (your friends) – John Major, Madonna, Norman Lamont, Everett True. Plus ça change.

The CD kicks off with Spiritualized and an elongated live version of Smiles which – as far as I recall – was subsequently released on a flexidisc. I am still looking for a decent CD release of Lazer Guided Melodies. Having to get up to flip the LP three times is a nuisance – while pressing it at 45rpm just makes it even more annoying. It’s nice to see some of the highlights from Jason Pierce’s record collection: The Stooges, 13th Floor Elevators, Otis Redding etc. Next is © AKA Leslie Winer (“I chose the name because I liked the idea of a symbol”). He Was = interesting spoken word with jazzy interludes and a trip hop shuffle. Keeping things affected: Ultra Vivid Scene’s Cut Throat is a remix of a tune from the rather unloved Rev. Just what the world was waiting for – a Senseless Things demo. Keepsake remains unremarkable and there’s a sigh of relief when Catch A Fire begins, taken from the fifth and final That Petrol Emotion album. The career overview is quite a decent read and it’s interesting to see the band’s take on Millennium Psychosis and Chemicrazy.

It’s hard to believe it now but in early 1993, Bjork was just setting out on her solo career. One Day appears – often considered her “recovery song” – and just grows in stature over the years. Debut would not appear until July so this was a welcome preview – although I could have done without the tired quip about “suits” in the text. Meanwhile Saint Etienne’s superb Fake ’88 was inspired by Denim’s The Osmonds; a caustic look back at the 1970s and updated for the next decade. Stephen Duffy handles the nostalgia in a Brummie John Betjeman drawl extolling a lush and understated litany of 1980s recollections & nostalgia fragments. “I don’t remember any of that. If you can remember the ’80s you weren’t there.” File under Balearic gems. Also enjoyable is Bob and Pete’s rundown through eight top 80s pop collaborations which has the decency to include Glenn & Chris’ Diamond Lights. Now is an ideal time for a slab of doom-laden synth pop. If that song was by anybody else other than two “uncool” footballers, it wouldn’t have been dismissed.

Gallon Drunk’s Keep Moving On is their usual overrated mess of turgid blues. Far better is American Music Club’s plaintive Love Connection NYC (Solo Bedroom Demo) coupled with another back to basics track, Belly’s White Belly. The magazine passes a comment that Star would sound better if one third was lopped off; obviously an early impression as I think it really hangs together well as a whole. Also recommended are the follow-up King and the compilations Baby Silvertooth (Japan not China) and Sweet Ride. After Killdozer’s appallingly rubbish Working Hard Or Hardly Working, we’re treated to the sublime Fallen by One Dove. The Last Monday Morning At Bobby N’s Remix. Their sole album Morning Dove White is a real case of what might have been. Preceded by four well-received singles, the anticipation built all through 1992 but the LP’s release was delayed until the following year due to label politics. The push / pull effect between Andrew Weatherall and Stephen Hague led to a rather unfocused and muddy album. Fallen is amazing though; a classic cut from Creation’s Keeping The Faith cloth. Synth pop meets dub via deep house and mellow ambient psychedelia all chugging along at a mid-tempo pace.

Born out of Spiral Tribe, The Drum Club first made their way into my life on Volume Six. The interview gives a great insight into the battles that ravers endured; the clashes with the law – “it’s like it’s becoming a police state” – plus some spot-on discussion on the cliques that pervaded the indie circles of the time. It was pretty similar in Dublin then too. One Tribe is a super example of building, tribal techno. Over to: “And now from London…Sheep On Drugs.” 15 Minutes Of Fame is entertaining breakbeat industrial that troubled the lower reaches of the charts. Next: Fluke and the accurately described Spacey which feeds into the closer Also With You by Unmen. Piano, beats. Peace be with you.

Favourite tracks
Bjork – One Day

Saint Etienne – Fake ’88

Lest we forget
© – He Was

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