Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Cassette experiment day 45 - The Housemartins 'The people who grinned themselves to death'

In the mid 1980s, a band emerged from Hull in the North of England (or as I prefer to think of it, the South!) who briefly threatened to change the world.
In many ways the first Britpop band, The Housemartins wafted fresh air through a music world fixated on Nick Berry’s ‘Every loser wins’ and Chris de Burgh’s ‘The lady in red’. They released two great pop albums in two years, and then promptly went their own separate musical ways.
Many of the tracks on this their second (and final) album have become over-familiar in the nostalgia-obsessed world of music radio, but they’re none the worse for it. ‘Me and the farmer’ (with musical use of the word ‘blister’ a full eight years before one of  Britpop’s greatest moments, Oasis’ ‘She’s electric’), the thoughtful ‘Build’ and the wonderfully energetic and aptly titled ‘Five get over excited’ are all now bright and brilliant staples of daytime radio.
For me though, it’s in the lesser known tunes that much of the joy of this album still resides, ‘I can’t put my finger on it’ is a peeing standing up pop masterpiece, and how Paul (or P.d. as he’s credited here) manages to hit the highest note of ‘The world’s on fire’ I’ll never know. I still give a one-man round of applause every time it happens.
Please note that St. Winifred’s School Choir appears on this album, but that’s no reason to be afraid.
Also receiving honourable mention within are the popular culture touchstones of Scalextric, Rupert, James Dean, Abba, The Thunderbirds, Motown, Meccano and Legoland. You don’t get those on a Chris de Burgh album
Label – Go! Discs
Year - 1987

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