Getting on the front page of Shine 8 are James, The Charlatans, Eels, Reef, Cast, Manic Street Preachers, Blur, Oasis, Suede, Bush, Depeche Mode and Placebo. The detachable questionnaire is for a Philips Discman with a closing date of 19 December 1997.
Once again Cast lead off. Free Me has psychedelic tinges and reminds me of late ’60s Who. It’s then over to The Charlatans who channel the Stones’ spirit on the epic North Country Boy while Bush’s grungey Swallowed sounds better now than then while 3 Colours Red’s Sixty Mile Smile is breakneck and speedy rock. But Reef’s Place Your Hands is awfully turgid, thankfully a rare misstep as we’re back to narcotic breaks on Placebo’s gritty shaker Nancy Boy. Kevin Carter, the Manics’ tribute to the South African photojournalist is superb in any company. Next comes the pulsating Wide Open Space from guitar heroes Mansun with Kula Shaker’s mystic Tattva then followed by Monaco’s chugging What Do You Want From Me. That one was about his failed relationship with the Caroline Aherne.
James and She’s A Star, a dazzling single from Whiplash remains one of their career highs, an immersive experience. Gene managed to make a second album Drawn To The Deep End that closely matches the quality of their first. We Could Be Kings is suitably majestic in single form. A crowning glory indeed. Next are Symposium’s with the energetic Drink The Sunshine while Sugar Coated Iceberg is yet another poptastic effort from Liverpool’s Lightning Seeds. If flamboyance is your thing then look no further than My Life Story and King Of Kissingdom – a song that could only be sung by a Shillingford. From the bedroom to the top of the charts, White Town’s Your Woman. And the Divine Comedy’s caustic window opens wide on Everybody Knows (Except You). Then there’s time for a peaceful interlude on the gorgeous Diamond Dew courtesy of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. +Dodgy’s celebratory Found You which leads into Oasis’ greatest B-side, that imperious classic, The Masterplan. Makes me think of brighter days, both past and hopefully in the future.
CD2 begins with Suede’s Lazy, single #4 from Coming Up. The music video contains slow motion shots of the band relaxing in a bedsit (remember those?). Brett looks through the floorboards. A more focused and less sprawling album than Dog Man Star, it still gets a regular outing on my stereo with a number of different editions (LP, CD, 2CD, 4CD, 2LP) all rewarding. I still rate the era for B-sides, see disc 2 of Sci-Fi Lullabies. Blur are next – Beetlebum – which is then followed by the overlong Ultra version of Depeche Mode’s It’s No Good, the weakest of that album’s singles. Slacker time: Eels with their gorgeous stop / start delight Novacaine For The Soul while Skunk Anansie’s Hedonism remains utterly pointless. Time for some old numbers – there’s Pulp with Babies (sounds like the 1992 original) and Supergrass’ Caught By The Fuzz, almost three years old by this stage.
Shed Seven’s Bully Boy remains resolutely anthemic and somewhat of a banger. It’s weird to hear Pavement in this company; Shady Lane, lifted from Jah-mighten The Corners is suitable comfort food from what was their worst LP. Shorter than I remember. Next come Bennett and the tuneful melodic rock of Someone Always Gets There First before Sleeper’s self-explanatory Statuesque with its steering wheel chorus. We’re heading for indie landfill with Ruth’s one trick pony I Don’t Know, Jocasta’s bassy Go & Grass Show’s bland power pop 1962. But I’m stopped in my tracks by Candyskins’ delightful Monday Morning while Tiger’s Race remains resolutely unique in its motorik delivery. Travis’ U16 Girls is followed by The Wannadies short sharp shock Hit. Finally, there’s some respite to the guitar attack with Intastella’s almost baggy groover Skyscraper before a rather fast cover of The Clash’s Bank Robber courtesy of Audioweb. “Do you wanna make tea at the BBC?”
Suede – Lazy
Tiger – Race
Gene – We Could Be Kings
Pavement – Shady Lane
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Diamond Dew
Lest we forget
Oasis – The Masterplan