The old marketing ploy of advertising your previous volumes is utilised in the inlay of Shine 6. The five instalments are laid out with colour thumbnails and a selection of highlights for each one are also listed. Memories of Now That’s What I Call Music 6.
We start with Paul Weller and the grinding heavy soul of Peacock Suit which is followed by The Charlatans’ northern stormer One To Another is excellent, a real soul saver. Making it three out of three is A Design For Life, the Manic Street Preachers’ exquisite rant against class privilege before the ’70s glam stomp of Suede’s Trash, the opening ace from Coming Up. Dodgy’s breezy Good Enough bridges the gap before Ocean Colour Scene’s shiny ‘n’ melodic The Circle, sublime melodies all. After such a familiar beginning, we go down a slightly less travelled path that encompasses Shed Seven’s tuneful On Standby & We Love You, Menswear’s jaunty non-album 45. Back to the bang(ers): Blur’s annoying Charmless Man and The Cardigans’ ubiquitous Lovefool. “I was never cool in school”: it’s Ben Folds Five with the almost operatic Underground. Even 25 years on, it’s fabulous fun.
This keen sense of theatrical adventure continues on the next pair of tunes. The Divine Comedy’s Becoming More Like Alfie is taken from their most Britpop LP Casanova. The video (only Neil’s second) is a riot with the lyrical content now written off as “problematic” by serious bearded men. Next come My Life Story – lead by the suave Jake Shillingford (who looks exactly like you’d expect) and the orchestral banger 12 Reasons Why I Love Her. Nice Fun Boy Three influence. It’s followed by Sleeper’s minty Sale Of The Centrury and Babybird’s overlooked Goodnight (lost in the shadow of You’re Gorgeous). The 7″ came from Virgin and reminds me of Grosvenor Road and its awful landlord Mr Blacklock. And then Joyrider’s surprisingly bouncy cover of Rush Hour. It shouldn’t work but does. Keeping things heavy are the Boo Radleys and the searing riffage of What’s In The Box. Bringing CD1 to a close are the Presidents Of The United States Of America with the annoyingly addictive Lump while pales into nothing when Rocket From The Crypt drop the furious horn rock monster On A Rope. Memories of that January ’96 gig at The Mean Fiddler and ordering Hot Charity + Scream Duckula Scream from Alan’s, Wigan.
Disc 2 begins with The Cranberries and their understated Free To Decide, a push back against intrusive journalists which urges them to cover the wars in Russia and Sarajevo instead. Equally low key are Electronic and the wonderfully melodic Forbidden City – killer guitar break and all. Inevitably Oasis appear; while not an actual UK 45, they did make a video for album-closer Champagne Supernova and it got caned on radio and television. Meanwhile Cast’s Walkaway always reminds me of Euro ’96. The dreamy melodies of Walkaway forever associated with England footballers in a grey strip. Gareth Southgate missing a penalty. Rody Boland’s erupting in joy. Elsewhere Pulp’s Different Class was still providing new thrills in 1996; in this instance, the deep blue soundscapes of the thought-provoking Something Changed. There’s more plaintive sensitivity on both The Longpigs’ On And On and on Terrorvision’s Bad Actress, one of the year’s underrated 7″s.
The Levellers give us a just-ok live Exodus before Mansun’s provocative Stripper Vicar. The Imperial Teens’ bass-heavy You’re One, Northern Uproar’s Living It Up and Heavy Stereo’s Chinese Burn all bring back memories of the Camden (Street) crawl of the mid-90s. But Elcka’s catchy Look At You Now is the real blast from the past, remaining very unheard since that summer. Next are Lush whose renaissance continues with 500 (Shake Baby Shake) while the first of two Sarahs arrives in the form of Dubstar’s dreamy Elevator Song. Sarah #2 – Crack
birdnell singing about motorways and airplanes on the luscious Anymore. Ruth’s dull Valentine’s Day is followed by Bawl’s ode to supermarkets, Beyond Safe Ways. We’re in the dead zone now as Sussed’s One In A Million jumps up, brash and lively before every single cobweb is blown away by Kenickie’s fantastic Punka which always filled the dancefloors and is embued with the spirit of Sham 69. “Lo-fi songs are great” is glorious. To the end with Placebo & the intense 36 Degrees. For all introverts everywhere.
My Life Story – 12 Reasons Why I Love Her
The Divine Comedy – Becoming More Like Alfie
Sarah Cracknell – Anymore
Electronic – Forbidden City
Kenickie – Punka
Lest we forget
Babybird – Goodnight