Sign of the times: the inlay for Shine 4 has a cut-out form where you can win a Philips CamCorder. Closing date for entries was 20 December 1996. There were six questions that required an answer, the usual marketing stuff. Curiously the question on “Which TV channels do you watch most regularly?” only had the following options: Channel 4, UK Gold, Sky Movies, ITV, Sky 1, Sky Sport or Others. No BBC was an unusual omission.
In a change to the previous three volumes, we get 21 tracks and this time, Cast are the chosen leaders. Lifted from the groovy All Change, Sandstorm was the third 45 from it; a cracker. Following are Pulp with their malevolent statement of intent, Mis-Shapes which kicked off 1995’s greatest album, Different Class. Lyrically inspired by Jarvis Cocker’s experiences socialising in Sheffield as an outcast, the song urges misfits to unite and take over. Pulp’s subsequent popularity with gougers made it all the more bittersweet, like the audience laughing at the racism in ‘Til Death Us Do Part. “It’s an intellectual putsch, a nerdy spring, and it’s still as convincing today as it was back then.” (The Guardian) Keeping the energy flowing are Supergrass and the epic Mansize Rooster, a tune that still makes me glow inside – especially the “rooster!” cry at 1:00. And Menswear’s Sleeping In still retains a sense of faded glamour and dignity, despite all of those £1 charity shop jibes.
Going for that maximum high, Shed Seven’s anthemic Getting Better still retains a most wonderful swagger; I remember it being played at The Mean Fiddler during the DJ set after the Rocket From The Crypt gig, a birthday celebration with the sound of music. Fellow division two sloggers, Northern Uproar drop a slice of magic with the chugging melody of From A Window. Upping a gear in terms of current-day recognition are Ocean Colour Scene with the hard rocking Riverboat Song before the self-fulfilling prophecy of Skunk Anansie’s Weak. Thankfully we’re back on the path of goodness with Number One Cup’s tuneful college rocker Divebomb; all start / stop levels of fuzzy. And then some Brit Hot – it’s Marion mournful time with its intricate weaving guitar lines before Longpigs let fly on Far. Naturally being early ’96, there’s space for Blur’s epic The Universal.
1996 began with a remixed For The Dead which subsequently became Gene’s biggest hit (#14), leading to their debut appearance on Top Of The Pops. To See The Lights, an album of rarities, live tracks, radio sessions and acoustic versions of singles, was released that January, and remains the closest thing to Hatful Of Hollow you’ll ever get. Meanwhile Echobelly put out their career highlight with the thoughtful Dark Therapy, the closest thing to Spooky-era Lush here. Next are The Stone Roses and the heartfelt Ten Storey Love Song, their second album’s Waterfall. The B-sides, Moses and Ride On were the last new songs released by the group until the 2016 single All For One. No Reni in the video and a memorable spring ’95 tune, albeit it feels a little out of time here – one year on.
Who remembers the video for Radiohead’s Just? The man on the pavement. Another epic single from The Bends, you can really feel the band’s stature growing as The Bends gradually gave up its treasures. And then some jollification from the Lightning Seeds – Lucky You, released twice in the space of 12 months. Elsewhere The Cardigans drop the catchy, almost too-sweet Carnival, a track that puts me in mind of various Donnybrook flats; another tune that had two goes. Neatly paired with it are Dubstar and the lesser-spotted Anywhere, a fine track in its own right but one that falls short of the bar set by Stars and Not So Manic Now. Lastly we end with a brace from Help, the ordinary Come Together and the revitalised Fade Away. If The Beatles had read Norman Hunter etc.
Pulp – Mis-Shapes
Gene – For The Dead
Supergrass – Mansize Rooster
Lest we forget
The Stone Roses – Ten Storey Love Song