In 1995 there were three fantastic albums that just wouldn’t leave my CD player – ‘The Bends’ by Radiohead, ‘Grand Prix’ by Teenage Fanclub and ‘Head like a rock’ by Ian McNabb (in fact I’m tempted to wander off and listen to them all now!).
All three are firmly categorisable (if that’s a word) as ‘guitar’ albums and the first two are often mentioned when critics compile their favourite albums of the 1990s (and often ‘of all time’ too). The third, Ian McNabb’s ‘Head like a rock’ tends to have slipped away a little in our collective musical consciousness, but if, like me, you still think it’s a classic, then you’ll almost certainly love (and possibly own) this, the 38th cassette on ‘the great cassette experiment’ roll call.
Released in 1987, The Icicle Works’ slightly clumsily titled ‘If you want to defeat your enemy sing his song’, burst forth into the lower reaches of the UK album charts before slowly slipping towards oblivion. I was one of the few people to buy this Ian Broudie (channelling Phil Spector) produced album at the time, and I’ve loved it ever since.
The top two tracks are undoubtedly the 100mph ‘Understanding Jane’, with its stupendous ending and ‘Evangeline’. That being said, almost everything else on here is fantastic too – ‘Hope springs eternal’ is a typical example of the boys’ anthemic style and ‘Up here in the north of England’ is very fine too, definitely not only a northern song.
Please note too that this album includes just the right amount of banjo – it is possible to have too little banjo on an album and it’s almost certainly possible to have too much.
Label – Beggars Banquet
Year - 1987