Tag Archives: it

End of Part One

23 Jun

Youtube playlist featuring all the songs so far covered

By the time ‘Everybody’s Problem’ was released, Pulp had ceased to exist. The Hinkler brothers were in the new lineup of Artery. Peter Boam, Michael Paramore and Tim Alcard had returned to their own projects. Tim will continue to play a minor role over the next few years. Magnus was playing, temporarily in Tony Perrin’s Sheffield supergroup Midnight Choir. Jarvis had his own side projects – or rather the side-projects had him. The scene had moved into an era of ad-hoc performances and one-off lineups. Pulp weren’t dead though, just entering a pupal phase. What emerged in the January of 1984 would be a very different animal altogether.
We’ll get to all of this a little later. For now, let’s look back at the band’s first era. As I get through this discography I’ll be stopping after each album to put together an alternative tracklisting. For ‘It’ I’ve decided to go for an overview of the band’s first half-decade. Thematically it’s all a bit of a jumble, but I’d say it’s a good overview.

1. I Scrubbed The Crabs That Killed Sheffield (Live in Bath, 1982)
2. What Do You Say?
3. Turkey Mambo Momma
4. Wishful Thinking (Peel Session Version)
5. Refuse To Be Blind
6. Sickly Grin
7. My Lighthouse (7″ mix)
8. Blue Girls (LP mix)
9. Love Love
10. There Was…

So now it’s over to you. What would you put together to sum up this era?

#41 – Joking Aside

2 Jun

Joking Aside
Joking Aside at Pulpwiki

“In my naive days, I thought that you were going to get a girlfriend and then it was all going to be all right. And then you find out that it’s not going to be all right.”

The ‘It’ recording sessions were finished, but the album wasn’t. Five tracks were done, with a total run time of 21 minutes – enough for a fairly long EP, but not enough for even a short mini-album. Tony Perrin, still somehow the band’s manager, had no choice but to go out and find the cash to complete the record. His solution was to play the completed tapes to Tony K of Red Rhino records, who liked the songs enough to stump up £500 for the band to go down to London and complete the sessions, so on the 15th of January 1983 the group went down to London’s Victoria Studios to record one more track. They arrived there without either Peter Boam or David Hinkler. The increasing side-lining of these two talented musicians was a poor sign for the stability of the line-up. Peter seems to have been resigned to leaving the group at this point, but David later expressed annoyance at recording sessions having taken place behind his back.

Aside from the remixing of “Blue Girls” and “My Lighthouse”, the sole product of the day’s work was ‘Joking Apart’ – a track which certainly fits the sound of ‘It’ and brings it up to mini-LP length. Aside from that, it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm about it. An oom-pah-pah bier-keller waltz, it’s performed in an unironic folky style by the Artery rump of Simon Hinkler and Garry Wilson, with Jarvis’s school friend Jon Short guesting on country-fiddle-style cello. It’s not the usual instrument for this kind of music, and Short wasn’t happy with the single take, but Jarvis and Simon apparently thought it was good enough to keep.

Once again – fortunately for the last time – we hear all about one young man’s search for meaning in the daunting world of adult life, though to be fair these ideas are a little more mature this time. The lyrics are, in places, as good as anything on ‘It’ – “I’d like to turn you over / and see what’s on your other side” would fit well enough on any Pulp album from Freaks to This Is Hardcore. Jarvis makes a play of being disillusioned and world-weary – “Viewed from outside / these pursuits I might try / seem possessed of a certain allure / Now they’re no longer a source of mystery / my faith in them’s more unsure” – but being “unsure” isn’t quite the same as being tired of it all. And notice he “might try” these activities, meaning that he hasn’t tried them yet. This is, then, a prediction of cynicism, rather than real experience of it, but we won’t have to wait too long for the genuine article.

It’s a shame that these promising lyrics are matched to a tune and an arrangement which amount to little more than a nice idea taken way too far. The first couple of minutes are perfectly pleasant, but past that point the song frustratingly fails to go anywhere at all. The only motion towards taking it up a notch is when Saskia and Jill’s “luh luh luh luh” backing vocals come in, but these just sound out of tune and out of place. After the full four minutes and eighteeen seconds the idea that this is just filler becomes hard to shake. Placed towards the end of side A, just after the two “hits” of My Lighthouse and Wishful Thinking, it slows the record down into a lull it never fully escapes from.

#40 – Looking For Life

26 May

Looking For Life
Looking For Life on Pulpwiki

The summer of 1982 was warm and dry. The Falklands war was over, Wednesday had missed out on promotion to the First Division on the final day and ‘Fame’ and ‘Come On Eileen’ were at number one. Jarvis had finished school, deferred his university place, and wasn’t even working as a fishmonger any more. It’s sounds a little like ‘David’s Last Summer’ – going to parties while it’s light outside, the air humming with heat, all that. Dolly and Jamie had gone their different ways, but a new Pulp was coming together, and the possibilities of the future must have seemed endlessly exciting. This is all self-evident from the songs written at this time – Sink or Swim, Joking Aside, but most of all Looking For Life, which captures the sound as well as the feel of those days.

For the previous six months the band’s line-up had included an organ on one side of the stage and a keyboard on the other, a setup which naturally led to tunes led by a swirling whirlitzer of sound topped off with jangly early 80s indie guitar. As the autumn arrived, Jarvis and Simon began their cribbing from Leonard Cohen, and the band’s sound moved on. ‘Looking for Life’ is a hangover from that earlier time. For whatever reason it escaped the rewriting and rearranging, perhaps because it represents the best development of that sound – the organ driven by a propulsive krautrock rhythm – for the first time in Pulp’s existence, a real groove.

It’s not completely successful, of course. The band are almost, but not quite in time for the first minute or so. This is no surprise – the song has a rather everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production, and with so many musicians trying so hard to make something work, one mistake can scupper everything. It was the last song recorded in the session, but destined to be the b-side of their first single, so everyone was very keen to get their part in.
The one thing which had changed about the song was the title. Originally ‘Coming Alive’ it had later been titled ‘Looking for Love’, a name dismissed as “too poofy” by a member of the group. That was a good call – one more song about a young man’s search for love would surely have been too much to take. Instead, the vocals are handily used as a hook for the rhythm, and quite an effective one. Peter Boam also sings lead for a moment, though his lines (“Once I had, I had a vision / Brilliant white walls and lights in each corner they danced” starting from 3.13) were placed so low in the mix that it’s easy to miss them. This is down to Jarvis, who decided that they sounded like “bloody Gene Pitney.”

There’s nothing particularly special going on here, but everyone puts in enough effort to somehow make it work. All the same, they seem to be flagging after a few minutes, and the song finishes largely as a mess. Not a fitting ending for an album it was never meant to be on*, though it woud’ve worked very well if placed earlier on.

*most reissues of the ‘It’ have featured ‘Looking for Life’ as an unmentioned bonus track, taking the album’s running length over the thirty minute mark.

#39 – In Many Ways

19 May

The Marine Girls, who Pulp weren’t.

In Many Ways
In Many Ways (Pulpwiki)

Throughout the seventies and early eighties there was a steady pattern with musical movements. Each would start as an underground scene, score a hit or some press coverage, then blow up into a massive cultural event before finally becoming part of the cultural landscape and fading slowly away in clear sight, with everyone’s interest turning to the next big thing. Then along came 1982, and the pattern was broken – for that year’s new movement was the nameless post-new-wave folky acoustic ‘Cherry Red’ sound, and for some reason the public showed little or no interest in The Marine Girls and The Monochrome Set.

‘In Many Ways’ sounds very much like an offcut from ‘Pillows and Prayers‘, but unfortunately Pulp are no Felt here. A listless, almost comatose ballad, with only the most minimal of choruses, it’s probably the most forgettable thing on the album. Drifting in and out without any drama or resolution, it’s hard to get worked up in either direction about it.

To be fair here, it’s not all bad. The (wilfully opaque) lyrics are about the fleeting nature of love, perhaps relating to a particular relationship. Jarvis seems torn between considering it a short-term fling or something more substantial, finally zeroing in on a sense of dissatisfaction, and acceptance that there’s nothing wrong with short-term fun as long as you don’t take it too seriously, or make the mistake of imagining it’s something more significant. I can’t help but wonder what the girl thought about it. A fairly cynical viewpoint, then, and a more mature one than we’ve seen on the rest of the album, but unfortunately not imbued with any great insight.

Accompanying the melancholy crooning of these thoughts, we have another stripped down, Leonard Cohen style production. The shimmering mediterranean guitar is pitched just right, and the backing vocals are nothing short of lovely. The bongos, to be perfectly honest, just sound limp and dated, but even that doesn’t really sink the song – it’s the lack of progression that really does for it in the end. If you’re going to repeat the same parts over and over again then they’d better be special, and nothing here really is.

‘In Many Ways’ is engaging in parts, but ultimately nothing to write home about. It’s too inoffensive to hate, too inconsequential to love, and it’s no surprise that it ended up hidden away at the end of the album.

#38 – Love Love

12 May

Love Love
Love Love at Pulpwiki

I have a confession; this isn’t my first Pulp-related writing project. In 1997, during that strange lull between ‘Help The Aged’ and ‘This Is Hardcore’ I put out my first Pulp zine, ‘Blue Glow‘. It contained nothing in the way of interviews, news or in-depth analysis, but plenty of novelty features and off-topic wittering.

According to most independent sources, the most interesting article was the ‘Pulp Taste Test‘ – something I’d created by putting eight Pulp tracks on a tape and getting non-fans (people I knew from Sixth Form) to review them ‘blind’. The selection was as wilfully obtuse as possible, every song featuring a wildly different style. I hoped that none of the reviewers would twig that they were listening to the same band. Results were varied. ‘The Will To Power’ didn’t go down very well at all. Only one track met with universal approval; ‘Love Love’.

It was an unusual winner, but it does make some sort of sense. On the album it sounds perversely out-of-place – the final notes of ‘Blue Girls’ fade away and, before you have a chance to readjust yourself, there’s a few thumps of what David Hinkler refered to as “the heaviest bass drum I’ve heard in my life” and we launch into a straight-up jolly trad jazz song. In theory it’s as jarring as it would be if the album cut to Gants Graf by Autechre; in practice it sort of works – sort of – only because ‘Love Love’ itself is so fundamentally un-annoying.

later on, much would be made of the fact that the writer of these songs was, at the time, a virgin, and nowhere is it more obvious than here. Meeting a “special girl” he invites her not for a sordid weekend in a sleazy hotel, but to his mum’s house “for tea.” True, they end up under the table, but it seems unlikely that much is going on beneath the cloth. Later they go to the park to feed the ducks. It’s all so charming and inoffensive that it’s almost impossible to make fun of. Fortunately the innocence is charming, but it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that a slightly older Jarvis may have found it a little embarrassing.

There’s not a lot of information available about the genesis of this odd little curio. It certainly sounds nothing like anything else from the Cocker / Hinkler improvisations that summer (or for that matter, like anything Pulp would ever record again). The trombone and clarinet, sitting squarely at the heart of the piece, were only added at the last minute. David put together his trombone parts on the balcony at Victoria Studios while the band were mixing inside, and the clarinet flourishes were improvised by Barry Thompson during his session. A former member of the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, he was the only musician present with any experience of this sort of music, and his contribution truly makes the song.

A real labrador puppy of a song, it’s impossible to hate ‘Love Love’. Though the lyrics lack insight and the music lacks originality, the finished product somehow stands up even today.

#36 – My Lighthouse

28 Apr

My Lighthouse – Album Mix
My Lighthouse – Single Mix
My Lighthouse – Live, Royal Albert Hall, 2012
My Lighthouse on Pulpwiki

There are two stories about the inception of “My Lighthouse.” One has Simon Hinkler improvising riffs on his acoustic guitar while Jarvis mumbles improvised lyrics over the top. For some reason Jarvis sings “la la lighthouse” and Simon has to starts laughing – “What? Lighthouse?!?” Another version has Jarvis asking Simon for song ideas, getting the reply “Oh I don’t know, write it about a lighthouse.”

Jarvis had recently seen ‘Diva’, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix, a film credited with starting the ‘Cinema Du Look’ movement of the 1980s and early 1990s. The film features a central character who lives in a lighthouse, a concept 18-year-old Jarvis Cocker found to be “the height of sophistication”. The Lighthouse in Diva is a solemn concrete thing, plonked on the overcast Normandy coast, and it’s hard to see why anyone would find it romantic. Jarvis’s lighthouse, on the other hand, is a twee, picturesque thing, unsuitable for preventing nautical disasters.

Yes, it’s a very silly idea for a song, and there’s no way that anyone involved in its production was unaware of the fact. To their credit, though, there isn’t so much as a hint of irony present in the finished recording. The lyric about “you and I in a high tower” passes without the slightest hint of either a leer or a guffaw – this is not the Pulp of “Sheffield: Sex City” or “Seductive Barry” – it’s a song written by an 18-year-old about a romantic fantasy, a charming enough conceit. If the band had continued entirely in this vein it would’ve quickly become tiresome – fortunately even this mini-album contains just one other romantic flight of fantasy, and as we’ll see the novelty has already worn off somewhat.

One thing we’re going to see a lot more through the 1980s is criticism of Pulp’s output being led, in retrospect, by Jarvis himself. The line that always gets through about ‘It’ is that the production was lifted from the first few Leonard Cohen albums. An eternal favourite of sixth-form common rooms, records like 1969’s ‘Songs From A Room’* feature sparely treated acoustic guitar, Leonard intoning his poetry in his trademark ominous burr, and very little else besides. Occasionally there’s a female backing singer for the choruses, occasionally little touches of strings, electric bass and drums, but these just tend to creep in, low in the mix.

In some ways the production of ‘It’ does match Leonard Cohen’s ‘sparse yet warm’ aesthetic. Certainly, the vocals and the acoustic guitar feature prominently, and the drums are barely audible, but there are some major differences. Cohen had used an electric bass, stings and a Jew’s harp – Pulp had none of these things. Jarvis’s voice is really nothing like Leonard’s – in fact he has a much greater range, and often flies off into odd little croony trills. Most importantly, the songs don’t generally merit the sombre treatment – particularly something as cheery and optimistic as ‘My Lighthouse’ – and the shackles of serious production are regularly thrown off.

Generally, when a band generally arrives in a studio to record their first album, they have a dozen or so well-rehearsed songs ready to be put down. Pulp, of course, had no such things – the lineup (if you can call it a lineup) had just played one gig, and most of the songs were still in development. My Lighthouse, typically, was partially developed in the studio – the “It might be strange…” section (can we call it a chorus?) had an entirely different melody previously, a more jangly Cherry Red sort of thing, much in the spirit of the time. What we are hearing on the recording is the first performance of a new melody, one that lifts the whole song both literally and metaphorically. The final touch was the backing vocal, an angelic ‘aaaaaaaaa’ from Saskia and Jill which is much more prominent on the remixed version released as a single the following year.

‘My Lighthouse’ is a little wonder of a song, a moment where it all came together. It’s the most innocent of confections, redolent of the joys of life, an unqualified success to kick off an album which never quite manages to hit those heights again.

*’Songs of Leonard Cohen’, by far his most famous record, features an unusual and atypical amount of strings and backing vocals, which Cohen reacted against with his next few albums.3

#30 – Boats and Trains

13 Apr

Boats and Trains (Youtube)
Boats and Trains on Pulpwiki

A free-form 97-second sketch of a song, Boats and Trains plays its role as a natural coda to side one of ‘It’ so well that it’s hard to believe it came from an entirely different session. With only a long EPs-worth of tracks ready for album, it was plucked out of the ‘Spice’ demo recorded earlier in the year to bring It up to LP-length.
There’s not an awful lot to it, but what is there works quite well. Simon Hinkler plays intricate Spanish seaside mandolin, Jarvis strums the same chords on an acoustic guitar and sings wistfully over the top. The only development in the song comes towards the end when David Hinkler adds a few gentle touches of his Yamaha organ to the mix and Jarvis gives up singing, mid-sentence, to croon “la la la” instead.
The lyrics are typical of the songs Jarvis wrote that summer – simple and sincere, a reaction against the pretentions of his late-70s work. He asks if you would “like to hear / about the things I fear?” but quickly moves on to “If I told you a secret / you’d be sure to leak it.” After the open-hearted yearnings of the previous three tracks on ‘It’ it’s a nice touch to turn against the listener, implying they are a gossip, and not to be trusted, refusing to sing anything but “la la la.” Side two then follows on much more oblique, less personal lines.
It’s a pretty enough interlude, but there’s no evidence that anyone had any ideas on how to develop it further. The fade-out is surprising on first listen, and it may have been longer at some point – Wayne Furniss is credited with playing bass on the track, but there’s none there at all. 97 seconds, though, in the end, is enough.

#29 – Sink or Swim

7 Apr

Sink or Swim
Sink or Swim on Pulpwiki

When is the best time to write about a song? Perhaps it’s with the clarity of a first listen, when everything is fresh to your ears. Perhaps it’s after a long process of becoming accustomed to its nuances and details. One thing is for sure – the best moment is probably not when you’ve just developed a strange obsession with it and are listening to it on repeat. Love is blind, as somebody or other said. And what less likely song is there to fall for than “Sink or Swim” – a not particularly remarkable song justifiably left off ‘It’? But here we are anyway.

The first recording of Sink or Swim, and the reason I’m writing about it now and not later, is that it was recorded earlier that year for the “Spice” demo, though it was then called “Taking The Plunge.”* It’s one of a series of songs on the theme of taking your first steps in the adult world, later to include ‘Looking For Life’ and ‘Joking Aside’. That only one of these songs made it onto the original pressing of the LP was probably not a co-incidence. With all three present it does tend to sound like a concept album – “one Sheffield boy’s struggle to enter the adult world” – and that’s probably not the impression anyone wanted to give. Consequently it was left unmixed until Fire records decided to remaster the album for its 2012 reissue.

On first impressions the song isn’t great. The major weakness is the half asleep cruise ship keyboard line, which unfortunately serves as the intro. Jarvis’s vocals sound at once whimsical and uncomfortable. he keeps slipping into a low croon, emphasising the seriousness of his message – which, unfortunately, isn’t much of a message at all.

I see it’s time for me to take the plunge
Instead of sitting back, Watching everyone
Decisions now affect my future days
But are they right or wrong? Who on earth can say?

Not pretentious, then, just sort of ponderous and uninspired. It’s pretty much all a litany of half-arsed mistakes until David Hinkler’s trombone appears, somehow tying the melody together into a thing of wonder. It’s something of an illusion – sometimes you hear it, sometimes you don’t – just a moment of harmony that sounds incredible. I’ll wade through the thing a hundred times to hear that moment. Maybe I’ll be bored with it next week, but for now it’s caught me.

*It’s rumoured that the version on the reissue is from the Spice demo rather than the unmixed re-recording.

#17 – Wishful Thinking

25 Feb

Wishful Thinking (John Peel Session 1982)
Wishful Thinking (‘It’)
Wishful Thinking (Cover version by Golden)

How can we measure the value an artist places on a song? For a band like Pulp, songs were often written, performed, recorded, and slipped out of the set list and into obscurity in the space of a year. Where others tend to recycle or re-release, they always preferred to do something new. There are exceptions, of course – ‘Babies’ had two single releases, and was on two different albums, if you consider ‘Intro’ to be an album.*
Then there’s ‘Wishful Thinking’ – recorded for their first demo, re-recorded for the Peel session, re-recorded for ‘It’, chosen to be covered in the early 90s by Golden… What is it about this song which kept Jarvis coming back to it?
Listening to the version made for the Peel session, it certainly stands out. In amongst this selection pack of post-punk influences, there appears this emotional new-wave ballad, a little like The Cure, a little like the Postcard Records bands, but generally feeling new, raw, and unlike anything else they were doing at the time.
The construction of the song is quite simple – short verses intercut with a simple mantra of “I’ve got this love inside of me.” Each time it relates to the verses in a different way – at first glowing satisfaction, then doubt and longing, and finally quiet despair. It’s a hard trick to pull off, but Jarvis just about succeeds in doing it here simply by putting as much genuine feeling into it as he can, and his vocals are more successful than they would be again for most of the 80s. It’s a simple evocation of first love, and even if it seems naive it has an honesty and an integrity which can’t be denied.
Underneath the vocals the rest of the band also put in some of their best work. Jamie Pinchbeck contributes a trademark deep, echoey bass line, Wayne Furness adds a solemn, economic beat, and Dolly adds swirling, understated organ. Dale Griffin’s production, probably at the insistence of the band, is almost absurdly echoey, but it suits the track.
Fifteen months later the song was recorded again, by a very different lineup, for Pulp’s first album ‘It’. This version is the better known one, but it’s nowhere near as successful. The gentle acoustic production strains so hard to be sensitive that the vocals threaten to tip over into mawkishness. Everything is too polite – the drums and maracas sound like they are hesitating to come in, and the entire band sound like they are trying their hardest not to offend anyone. Jarvis’s vocals are also much worse – he seems to have either forgotten their meaning, or (more likely) finds them embarrassing. Later he would comment that the song embarrassed him – “because it’s a very direct love song – I remember who it’s about, and it just gets me.” His crooner phase in full bloom, he sounds like Morrissey doing an impression of Frank Sinatra – exactly the approach the song doesn’t need. Saskia’s flute solo is actually very pretty, but unfortunately it’s so tied up with the wimpy production that it pulls the song further down into midmorning chat-show territory.
One thing both versions have in common is the ending, or the lack of one. Nobody seems to know how to finish the song, and we trail off on an unsatisfying, unresolved note.

In 1994 Golden, a girl group mentored and produced by Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne, released a version of “Wishful Thinking”, making it the first Pulp song to be professionally covered. It’s like a Saint Etienne version of Talulah Gosh, with the tweeness brought to the fore (in a pleasant enough way) and the lyrics altered to reflect the change in genre. it’s worth a listen, and possibly improves on the ‘It’ version.

*Which I do

#16 – Please Don’t Worry

18 Feb

Please Don’t Worry (Peel Session)

Please Don’t Worry (‘It’ sessions out-take)
Please Don’t Worry on Pulpwiki

Like most young bands trying to make it on a local scene, Pulp Mk 1 had a theme tune, a poppy crowdpleaser that everyone could get behind. ‘Please Don’t Worry’ seems to have been popular with band and audience alike – it was a staple of their set even up to late 82, when the band’s line-up and sound had changed considerably. So why does it sound so out of place now?

Play the song to an unsuspecting member of the public and they would most likely imagine the song to be an indie-pop hit from the early 90s, a chirrupy strummy thing with a silly electronic sample over the verses and a swirling organ-like keyboard riff over the chorus. The first time I heard the session (in 1995 when Jarvis and Nick visited John Peel’s house) I couldn’t quite believe that this wasn’t a new track in the vein of We Can Dance Again or Mile End* – only more silly and cheerful, a bouncy, jolly bit of light relief. The trouble with “bouncy” and “jolly”, though, is that they are apt to morph into “annoying”, and as the years have passed my enjoyment has waned and my iritation risen.

The main problem is the main keyboard riff. Eight years later the band would be experimenting with some very unusual electronic noises indeed, but it’s a credit to Candida that they always bear up to repeated listening, showing hidden layers of complexity, even when they are dressed up to be naff and tacky. The riff on ‘Please Don’t Worry”, on the other hand, sounds like someone has just bought a new keyboard, and hasn’t worked out how to play anything more complex. At once it’s the centre of the song and at the same time drowns it out.

Another issue is the drumming. Wayne Furniss, lacking any professional equipment, had bought along a syn-drum made from a plan in ‘Practical Electronics’ magazine. A schoolfriend had constructed it from an electric calculator and a burglar alarm mat as a project, and it didn’t survive the journey to London in working condition. As Wayne crouched on the floor, bashing away on the thing, trying to get some sort of sound out of it, Dale Griffin apparently put his head in his hands. Eventually the thing was fixed, but the sound produced was far from satisfactory, a basic rhythm that struggles to stay in time throughout the song.

The vocals are also problematic. There’s nothing wrong with lyrics that are sincere, surreal, simple or obscure, but here I suspect that Jarvis has adopted the technique of putting together a list of phrases that sound like they could mean something – the dark arts, in other words, and the curse of Oasis and Coldplay. One of the reasons Jarvis is generally a successful lyricist is that he resists this tactic – Please Don’t Worry may represent his only slip.

I don’t want to pretend that this song is terrible – in fact, it has quite a bit going for it – I can’t deny that it’s catchy and fun, and the “I feel fine, I’m having a good time” coda sounds satisfyingly sarcastic. but I still skip it.

This week has seen the release of another version of Please Don’t Worry, and as it’s on an official album it may well end up being the more well-known version. The recording is from a year later, during the ‘It’ sessions, when Pulp had an entirely different lineup, aside from Jarvis of course. While that lineup was a lot more musically accomplished, they also seemed to be less adaptable. The fizzy proto-britpop of the song seems to have baffled them – only Jarvis seems to be on the ball, with everyone else playing parts they have learned, but haven’t really understood or appreciated. On the plus side, this means that the song is less annoying – the broken synth sound replaced by a swirling organ, the backing staying in time, little extra fills and flourishes throughout – but in the final analysis it sounds like a cover version, and a half hearted one at that.

*Neither of which I’d heard at the time, of course.