After the relative success of Shine, Polygram TV got together during the hot summer of 1995 with a view to putting out a sequel. This time the tagline was “20 NEW Brilliant Indie Hits” with the primary focus firmly on contemporary tunes, with the odd exception. The end result is a heady and nostalgic rush that’s sure to appeal to those of a certain age.
The Oasis juggernaut Some Might Say kicks off proceedings. The Gallagher brothers’ rolling stone continues to gather moss and they have their first number one with this epoch. A record bettered by two of its B-sides, Talk Tonight and Acquiesce. This leads into Paul Weller and the first single from his Stanley Road LP, The Changingman. By the Jam man’s own admission, most of the backing track is borrowed from the descending guitar intro riff of ELO’s 10538 Overture. Then it’s Ash’s tumultous fifth 45, the gorgeous Girl From Mars. A friend of mine caught the Ash wave early, when Peel played Jack Names The Planets in 1994, so watching their rise with super 7″ after 7″ was particularly memorable. The epic Petrol, the Heineken stormer Uncle Part, Kung Fu’s cruel samples and mosh-inducing craziness. Afterwards came the touching Angel Interceptor, an introspective Goldfinger and summer smash Oh Yeah. Stepping back to late 1994 and The Stone Roses roomy Love Spreads, a pretty fantastic comeback after the fuss died down.
Caned everywhere – Edwyn Collins’ A Girl Like You and The Boo Radleys’ Wake Up Boo! – essential to telling the story but seriously over-familiar 26 years on. Getting their jollies are the Lightning Seeds on the inspirational Change. And thankfully its the shorter 7″ radio edit rather than the album version. Meanwhile Dodgy’s first LP, imaginatively titled The Dodgy Album was released in 1993 and produced by Ian Broudie. It’s a surprisingly enduring record, full of pop blasts and mellow turns. The opening track on its follow-up was Staying Out For The Summer which peaked at #38 in late ’94. It was remixed and reissued in June 1995, reached #19 and perfectly encapsulates the vibe of that time. They also played at Féile in Cork; still the greatest value for money festival ever. The power of John! Next are Cast and their debut single, the endearing and catchy Fine Time – “I do believe you read the verse…” – harmony central and still sounds as good as ever.
“Make a cup of tea. Put a record on.”
Elastica’s effortless Waking Up takes me right back to the spring of 1995. Such carefree times. Endlessly free days, dropping in and out of flats, spinning the latest purchases. Their self-titled debut LP was seriously accomplished and confident, despite the catty plagiarism howls. Next are The Cranberries and the competent Ridiculous Thoughts; the lyrics were written by Dolores O’Riordan about her problems with British press and journalists. It was produced and engineered by Stephen Street. Another fourth single – Vegas – sees Sleeper continue the melodic trajectory set out on Smart and comes with a memorable music video. Louise Wener as a flight attendant. Elsewhere the Gigolo Aunts’ Where I Find My Heaven was initially released in 1993 but later re-released in April 1995 single to highlight its inclusion on the soundtrack to the movie, Dumb and Dumber, and its use as the opening music to the British sitcom, Game On. A tune that bleeds ’90s.
Gene’s Haunted By You was the opening track on the impressive and always compelling Olympian album. Bursting with well-crafted and sensitive melodies, the band’s best days were between 1995 and 1997 when they released the sublime compilation To See The Lights and the epic second album Drawn To The Deep End. “And now eyes burn circles in the dark / And when the mirror talks to me I listen with my heart” – ’tis Belly time, the underrated King with the gorgeous stomp of Now They’ll Sleep. I remember walking around UCD campus with it in my walkman, the spring crunch. And arriving just before the final exams started, Teenage Fanclub’s melodic masterpiece Grand Prix. Sparky’s Dream was the lead single, a hypnotic pop rush – “that summer feeling” – indeed.
At this point, I’d have happily switched off as the four remaining songs play like a dessert or afterthought. Suede’s Stay Together was 18 months old at that point while the inclusion of the Happy Mondays’ Kinky Afro (the uncredited Euromix Edit) is there because of its appearance on their 1995 compilation Loads. Great CD set by the way – especially disc 2 with Delighful and Freaky Dancin’. Staying Manc, Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart ’95 (lifted from Permanent) is nice to have but oddly lethargic in such company. Maybe it’s the hot summer air. We end with a Pulp classic – Underwear – the B-side of contemporary smash Common People. Exquisitely bleak, in some ways a fitting finale and pre-signalled the personal twists & turns that would follow later in ’95. “I’d give my whole life to see it.”
Teenage Fanclub – Sparky’s Dream
Cast – Fine Time
Elastica – Waking Up
Lest we forget
Gene – Haunted By You