Saturday, 27 April 2013

Wall of sound A-Z: E : Elastica Elastica

Wall of sound A-Z: E : Elastica Elastica

Starting off with spiky guitar riffs Line Up must be the only debut song on record that kicks off with a song with what sounds to the untrained ear to be 'retching' all the way through, and despite this its a cracking tune. Onto Annie, and we are into a lively tune Britpop romp, over in 1:14 barely time to write a sentence.

Now connection is a TUNE as I believe the young folks say, this is the sort of tune that got me into Elastica at the time, amazingly I don't think I was aware that Justine, the lead singer and guitarist was ex Suede and had committed the cardinal sin of swapping Brett Anderson for Damon Albarn in the Beau stakes. How anyone can be cool enough to snag both of them lot I don't know, but very impressive. So rather than Elastica being listened to because of Suede links (step forward McAlmont & Butler) it was a favourite CD on merit.

Being released in 1995, it fell nicely in the era when I could go out with a paypacket and purchase the latest tunes, still having to eek out a bargain (starting on £9,000 pay with a first class degree!). The albums pretty instantly listenable to, punky songs, only 4 on the album stretching over 3 minutes in length, they don't overstay their welcome.

Not sure they were a band that Mrs P enjoyed but I did manage to drag her out to Digbeth Institute to see them, a venue that was to obtain for many years a magical nostalgia as Elastica were the only band I had seen there before it shut for a decade. It was a lovely old building, smoky to say the least and rammed with sweaty students. Tall sweaty students to be honest which meant that I was going to get an ear bending from Mrs P if I wasn't careful when the support band came on, as she couldn't see anything. However we were in luck,  not sure whether they were a recent invention or not but the drinks in the Institute came in the most robust plastic pint glasses ever, allowing the ever resourceful Mrs P to balance precariously on 2 for the gig, me chasing them round on the odd occasion a wobble got the better of her.

Support that day were also pretty special in Powder, Pearl Lowe's band. Its been quite interesting to read over the years about Pearl Lowe's exploits in show biz, in fact having just reminisced about her, I have now purchased her book 'All that glitters' on ebay for 99p, I reckon that will be interesting. But on the musical front Powder produced a couple of cracking tunes, Shave me and Aphrodisiac which have received regular spins over the years.

The main event is something I can't remember too much about, I bumped into my later best man (now nicknamed the shadow as he has vanished from view) sporting his Ultra cool John Travolta in Pulp Fiction haircut (he was a drummer in a band, Crystal Injection maybe??). Hadn't seen him for years so it was a good spot, and being seen at Elastica must have done my street cred some good. I do look back incredibly fondly on the gig there and would put the feeling right up there if you know what I mean.

In my opinion, the best song on the album though is Waking Up. Cd single (remember them, brilliant, all up in the loft) purchased to kick off my love of Elastica, helping them get to a respectable #13 in the charts. The funny thing is though that Elastica had to settle out of court with the Stranglers for plagiarising 'No more heroes' with this song. I thought this was a bit harsh given Britpop was the world of the plagiarising artist (step forward Oasis (Beatles) and Blur (Kinks)) but no it was good old Elastica.

Actually having listened to Vaseline, how much is that like Blondies La La La on Sunday girl, I believe the years of listening 6 music may have opened my ears a bit more to the plagiarising. Right I am going to go back to no more heroes (a song I love) to spot Waking up....... oh, 18 years its taken me to spot that. I'll get my coat. What's that you say, its Wire songs too that are ripped off.

Well despite the album now turning into an album of almost covers, I do have an amazing fondness for the album, and Waking Up is still a fantastic song. Coming to the penultimate tune, 'Never here' its a song about Brett and Justine's break up apparently, what will I glean from the lyrics, well, sounds like they were typical student types, too much curry, Brett's lyrics were a bit ropey (they didn't scan indeed) and sounds like that was the end.

Going forward Elastica waited a good 5 years to do a follow up, with a significantly changed line up, down to substance abuse, or not finding any more tunes to slightly tweak, and I saw them again at Wolverhampton before the break up. Justine's an artist or summink now. Elastica are just a blistering punk pop band I love.

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