Argenti – March 7th, 2019

This year sees the silver anniversary of many of the defining moments in the Britpop story.  Singles, albums, tours, events…so much was happening in 1994 that it is nearly impossible now, twenty five years later, to convey with any degree of accuracy, quite how exciting and significant it felt then and continues to feel now.

It is easy to dismiss this as nothing more than a rose tinted view of just another year in pop music.  As Scroobius Pip reminds us in “Thou Shalt Not Kill”; “Oasis?  Just a band.”  Not just Oasis of course…Pip slaughters a whole lot of sacred cows in that song and reminds us that none of this really matters.

I can’t do it.

I can’t pretend to be all grown up.

It does matter.

These records.

Those sun-sheee-iiiine-y days.

They define me.

They probably define you.

I know, I know…family, friends, the acquisition of knowledge, relationships, careers blah-bloody-blah-blah-blah.

Pop music isn’t about the important stuff.

Pop music is the important stuff.

Listen.

It’s simple.

The songs that we will remember this year…even though we can barely remember where we left the car keys now…soundtrack a time in our life when there was hope, when possibilities were endless, when we genuinely believed that we could be whatever we wanted to be, when we could be free.

Wait.

Wait.

I can hear them coming.

D’you know who I mean?

Course you do.

The guys and gals of Twitter who will be along any second to remind us how awful Britpop was, how racist we all are for liking “Common People”, how Brexit is our fault, how some obscure b-side from Mogwai that is 37 minutes long and doesn’t actually feature any music or instruments is the greatest song ever recorded.

Save your energy my “friends”.

We don’t care.

Back to The Guardian comments section with you.

Insufferable.

shedsevenmark

“Mark my words, don’t forget where you are, don’t forget who’s a star, do you think that I’ll go far?”

I saw Shed Seven just as “Mark/Casino” girl was to be released.  They were touring with Compulsion and were being billed, at that point, as part of the New Wave of New Wave.  Compulsion were a bit punky…agit-pop, rubbish hair and even worse clothes.

Shed Seven were an entirely different proposition altogether.

For a start they had songs.

Then they had decided to do something really clever…they had written good songs.

I know.

Who knows why more bands don’t think of it.

“Mark” was the sound of four young men who knew that they were going places.

They probably didn’t know that they knew…but anyone who listened knew.

It was a confident swagger of a record.

Better than a debut record has any right to be.

What followed was a career of maximum highs and very few lows.

Hit singles.

Sell out tours.

Massive albums.

A fan base that can only be described as fanatical.

Then…things just sort of petered out.

Shedcember.

The Dukes.

And then in 2018…a new album.

Incredibly it wasn’t a new album in the same way that Morrissey releases new albums…turgid songs played by musicians who approach their instruments in the same way that the apes at the start of “2001: A Space Odyssey” approach things or dire interpretations of other peoples songs…but, instead, they stuck with a tried and tested formula of writing a set of songs that were good and that people might actually enjoy.

It was evidence of the fact that the nostalgia-fest that 2019 will be isn’t just about the past, it is about the present and, maybe, just maybe, the future too.

It wasn’t just Rick and the gang who released a great single on this day of course…no Sir.

These Animal Men also released their debut single “Speeed King” on this day.

T.A.M were a flawed, but beautiful, gang of Adidas soaked punk-pop, power-pop, mischief makers who captured the hearts of everyone who stumbled across them…which was basically me and a few dozen other unlikely souls.

They were a band it was impossible not to fall in love with.

They had their own ten commandments and everything…

  1. Get a Catholic education
  2. Poor is beautiful
  3. Respect is earned
  4. Don’t tell your parents
  5. Don’t be ashamed of your adolescence
  6. If you’ve got it, flaunt it
  7. Love is good…but not as good as a wank
  8. Amphetamines are where it’s at
  9. Never trust a crusty
  10. Taboo is a dirty word

Number eight was very important in the world of New Wave of New Wave.

It was particularly important to T.A.M.

Need proof?

Here is the cover of “Speeed King” (SPEEED KING!)

theseanimalmenspeeedking

That’s right kids.

In 1994 bands were releasing records with covers that featured a plate full of speed with four ten pound notes rolled up and stuck into it all set for the inhaling and inevitable good times that would follow.

It’s not high art but by bum it’s honest.

Rumour has it that Ronseal were inspired by this approach for their famous “Does exactly what it says on the tin” campaign.

What was that?

Was it any good??

Who cares if it was any good!

Look at the ten commandments again.

Now the cover.

Now this picture of the band…

theseanimalmen

Was it any good.

Honestly.

I think you’ve come to the wrong place.

If you care more about how the record sounds than any of that you might want to find a Radiodead forum.

But, to answer your question, yes…it was really good.

 

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