Even as I write this I am filled with feelings of regret and doubt.
This is an album that should be in the top twenty albums in British pop music history.
“Here he goes again.”
I know…it’s all hyperbole and exaggeration ’round are way.
But that is what great music should do to you…make you shout proclamations of genius and wonder for songs and bands that nobody else knows, remembers or cares about. Sometimes, if you get lucky, you are right and everybody agrees with you. Sometimes, nobody else agrees and you are dismissed as a loon or a fool. Usually I fall into loon or fool category.
But not this time.
This time it’s different.
I first heard Mantaray when “Sad” featured on the New Wave of New Wave EP put out by Fierce Panda; “Shagging in the Streets”.
“I’m so fucking sad, don’t know why, I know some of my friends will sit and try to understand…me.”
What an introduction to a band.
All delivered with the sort of sneering, pop meets punk with a dash of Mod chucked in guile that John Lydon and Liam Gallagher would sell their souls to be able to capture.
That was all it took.
I was in.
“Some Pop” arrived on yellow vinyl and with images of the boys in the band looking so sharp that you could shave with them.
This was Britpop at its most Mod.
Nobody else embraced the heart of that movement with as much passion as these Essex boys…not even Ocean Colour Scene. This was the raw, vitriolic, politicised soul of the Mod…something not seen or heard since The Jam.
Suited and booted the album delivers a kick in the face to the cosy, cheeky-chappy, conviviality of the mainstream of Britpop. There are songs that tackle homophobia (Closet Hetero) and gender prejudice (If you Were a Girl) as well as a seering indictment of the “next big thing” obsessions of the music industry and papers in the shape of “Greatest Living Soul”.
The three singles that accompanied the album “Adoration”, “Insomniacs Dream” and “Hide and Seek” are a Holy Trinity of power-pop and roll that no music collection should be without.