31/05/2015 – The Boo Radley-Find the Answer Within (1995)

Reformations are all the go at the moment. Ride is now part of the long list of band that has got back together after a lengthy breakup. This got me thinking, what bands would I actually enjoy to see reform, and more to the point would welcome new material from. Generally this is a bad idea, but the Pixies new recordings weren’t awful, so maybe there is something for it.

 

 

Longpigs

 

 

When they first burst on the scene they were breaths of fresh air. Their insanely catchy single She Says is an absolute classic of the era.

 

 

 

 

Coming from Sheffield, they weren’t trying to be Pulp, but something different. Their debut album The Sun is Often Out showcased now only singer Crispin Hunt’s vocal range, but song writing ability, but the real star was guitarist Richard Hawley. His riffs and chops really set Longpigs apart from the rest of the pack. Their second album was a tour de force. At the time of release Britpop was in its death throws, and bands that had ridden its wave were dropping like flies and releasing 2.0 version of their debut. Not Longpigs however, their second offering was a perfect snapshot of this time. It mixed classic indie, Britpop’s grandiose scope, but incorporated the current rise in electronic music to create something that was harshly maligned at the time, but has held up well over the years. A Longpigs reunion tour, and new album, wouldn’t go a miss!

 

 

 

 

Mansun

 

 

Like Longpigs, Mansun came onto the scene with an explosion of darkly sardonic, but humorous lyrics. It gave the slightly introverted of us a voice and something to hold onto. While the world raged about Oasis and Blur Mansun slowly gained momentum by releasing amazing singles and two flawless albums. Their debut album Attack of the Grey Lantern was Britpop’s hangover. After a heavy night of listening to Blur, Oasis and the Verve, Grey Lantern was the musical equivalent of waking up in a strange bed, and going through your receipts to find out what had happened the night before.

 

 

 

 

Their second album Six was an absolute monster; it mixed Britpop with elements of prog, while not alienating their core fans. However by their third album Little Kix is was apparent that the wheels were coming off before our very eyes. While it’s not a bad album, it’s nowhere near as clever or inventive as their previous two. There has been talk for year about a Mansun reunion, so let’s hope it finally happens as how good would it be to hear those songs live, one more time?

 

 

 

 

Elastica

 

 

Elastica’s complete output is about two and a half hours. Their self-titled debut clocks in at just over half an hour. It was, and is, the perfect Brtipop album. Big bouncy guitars, massive catchy choruses and songs die for. Yes they really ripped off Wire, but we’re all glad for it. Hearing Connection and Waking Up and Stutter for the first time gave us a reason to do everything. Bad day at school, Hold Me Now, had a shocker in goal, Blue, people getting on your case for no reason, Smile, burning jos sticks in your mates bedroom so you can smoke out the window, Indian Song. It’s an almost perfect album.

 

 

 

 

Five years later they returned with The Menace. It still contained the elements that had made Elastica such a joy, but the quality control wasn’t there. Three quarters of the album is great and equal to their debut, but tracks like KB and Miami Nice didn’t really cut it. Yes we got what you were doing, but they should have been B-Sides. However it did contain a guest spot from The Fall’s Mark E. Smith. The chances of a reunion are very slim and in all fairness we probably don’t need one, but if they did a sneaky reformation with a new single, for about twenty minutes it wouldn’t be 1995 again and we’d jump around like loons.

 

 

 

 

The Boo Radleys

 

 

When reading the last three words, if you immediately thought of the single Wake Up Boo then you don’t know the Boo Radleys. I look at Wake Up Boo in the same light as R.E.M.’s Shiny Happy People. It’s an anomaly in their canon of work. After releasing three insanely amazing album, they probably wrote Wake Up Boo out of desperation for a hit. And a hit they got. Sadly it was a hit that the public never got over. It stands out like a sore thumb on the album Wake Up! Ultimately that album is a psychedelic pop classic with a massive single at the start.

 

 

 

 

Personally I can’t stand it. Not just because it was massive, but because it wasn’t like anything they released before or after. But I am grateful for what it did. It allowed them the time, and money, to record C’mon Kids. If there was ever an anti-Britpop album than this is it. It basically says “You think you know us, you don’t know us!”. It’s follow up Kingsize was less lariy, but the cracks had started to form in the band, their label Creation records was slowly splintering and the indie scene was living on borrowed time before the Americanisation of music started to kick in. While I gave up hope of a reunion a long time ago, a proper re-issue of their overlooked debut Ichabod and I wouldn’t go a miss, featuring ‘lost tracks’ and demos. Anyone know anyone at Action Records, tell them there is an army of us that want this to happen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 comments
  1. I am someone not into the “indie” music scene but, as a fan of To Kill a Mockingbird, I had to check out the Boo Radleys. There was only one of the videos that worked for me (the others either “weren’t available in your country” (I live in the United States) or “oops we didn’t find any music here”. So, I went and found “Wake Up Boo” on You Tube. You know what? I liked it! It’s an upbeat song I’d love to wake up to. Oh well. Perhaps, now that Harper Lee is publishing a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird this summer, perhaps it would be a good time for the Boo Radleys to reunite?

    • I’d be so happy if they reformed. I don’t think it’ll ever happen, but I live in hope. All of the Wake Up album is brilliant and if you liked Wake Up Boo you might like it.

  2. kleebanks said:

    I’ve never heard of any of these, but I’m impressed with how thorough you are with your reviews!

  3. oh wow, some of these sound familiar but I can’t quite place them but they certainly are really good!

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