Volume Thirteen (Volume, 1995)

Volume Thirteen came out in May 1995 when the sunshine started to really beam down and stayed put for the entire summer. Strolling down to Morton’s in Ranelagh between study breaks; relying on Jolt and Marlboro to assist with the sheer devouring of texts.

After a baffling editorial credited to The Gaffer (featuring a photo of Glenn Hoddle), The Lucky Issue begins with some hip hop. Krispy 3’s Listen Up is better than remembered, crisp beats all the way from Chorley. Next come Whiteout with the rather hyperactive rockness of Polyesther Blues, sadly going nowhere. Things really spark with an ace demo version of Reaching Out From Here from the Boo Radleys. While less fully formed than the album take, its charm shines through. Leading on are These Animal Men Animals That Swim and the ordinary strum of East Street O’Neill. Nil points. Getting better, the carefully constructed riffs of Juliana Hatfield’s Waves, a gradually grower of a groover. And then Elcka and the opulent Games We Play that doesn’t get going until the final minute while Interact’s scattered Just Because (Demo) is hideously unfocused and reminds me of thumbing through the same records over and over in a shop that never changes the stock.

Hell is… Throwing Muses’ Hillbilly, a University drop-out which you can easily see why. The career overview is a handy summary and a reminder to spin The Real Ramona, a record that never loses its lustre. We go back to hip hop with Kaliphz and Sex, Horror & Violence. No 1930s black & white films for those guys. Elsewhere Luscious Jackson’s anemic Daddy screams “unremarkable B-side with 1,500 views in 2020” while Tribute To Nothing sound like Rancid crossed with RATM puking the worst output of both. This terrible streak continues with the non-descript sullen punk of The Flying Medallions’ Vanity Fair. Thankfully one of my heroes saves the day, Grant Hart’s Nova Mob with an electrified version of his old band’s Candy Apple Grey tune. “I guess it’s unfortunate that I got fed up with Hüsker Dü before the band got as big as it would have become if we’d stuck at it.” For balance, there’s a pleasant acoustic take of Heather Nova’s Maybe An Angel right at the very end of the CD. Is this the only time both were comped together?

21 tracks and not much on. Including short numbers that really add very little to the proceedings was a bad move. Velo Deluxe’s Jesus Let Me In and Bolus’ Done Lying Down are prime examples. Next are Rosa Mota and the somewhat apt Frost Bitten that feels half-formed but could have potential. Meanwhile Edwyn Collins serves up the bland In A Nutshell, not a tribute to the New Ross health food shop. Much tastier are Tindersticks with the deeply mournful Tiny Tears, not quite the album version (runs slightly shorter) but supremely poetic nonetheless – and worthy of its inclusion in The Sopranos. Equally emotional is Radiohead’s Nice Dream (Demo) which shimmers wonderfully with cello and violin. That just leaves time for Reverberation’s It’s All Over, like a cut-price Spiritualized which kind of sums up this pretty weak effort in the Volume series. “All I got was a note…”

And that’s all from me for 2020. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Favourite tracks
Nova Mob – No Promise I Have Made

Tindersticks – Tiny Tears

Radiohead – Nice Dream (Demo)

Lest we forget
Juliana Hatfield – Waves

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