Friday, 22 February 2013

Cassette experiment day 10 - It Bites 'Eat me in St. Louis'

I’d like to start today with a confession – I find the idea of rock bands from unlikely towns and cities to be faintly ridiculous.
Don’t ask me why, it’s not the world’s worst prejudice, but, admittedly, prejudice it is.
Before you start thinking badly of me please ask yourself whether or not it raises a personal titter that The Darkness hatched their jump-suited plans for world domination from Lowestoft, Saxon emerged on Wheels of Steel from Barnsley and the mighty Tygers of Pan Tang are ‘Straight outta’ one of the North East’s finest seaside resorts, Whitley Bay?
The reason I reveal this strange insight into my innermost rock prejudices is by way of introduction to Egremont’s finest, It Bites, and the only album of theirs that I own, the hilariously titled ‘Eat me in St. Louis’. I must admit I approached this album with some trepidation, unsure of how it would sound 24 years after its original release. Here’s the not particularly unforeseen revelation – like most ‘rock’ bands of the 1980s it sounds extremely well produced and more than a little bit silly. If you’re an ‘influence-spotter’ (and I am, it’s one of my favourite ways to completely waste an hour or two) you’ll spend most of the album muttering things like ‘ooh Genesis’, ‘ooh Yes’, ‘ooh Queen’,  ‘ooh Pink Floyd’, ‘ooh Styx’ and one surreal occasion, ‘ooh On Broadway’. Listeners of a less charitable disposition may also find Spinal Tap comparisons difficult to avoid.
Despite all of these reasons (and in many ways because of them) this is still a very likeable album, with the singles ‘Still too young to remember’ and Peter Gabriel-flavoured ‘Underneath your pillow’ the best tracks.
It seem that all the stops were pulled out for this album, with Mack hired to produce and LP cover royalty Roger Dean commissioned to design the cover (although I think as in the days of the construction of outside WCs, Roger gave his apprentice full control of this one).
As a minor, but I like to think interesting, musical footnote, Francis Dunnery (Lead vocalist, guitarist and ‘tapboard’ player) went on to perform on two of my all-time favourite albums . The fantastic ‘Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve heard it – it’s on the cassette experiment list to play in the next few weeks) and the tremendous ‘The miseducation of Lauryn Hill’.
Label – Virgin Records
Year - 1989