Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Bouquet of Barbed Wire?

I bought this magazine for Zeke Manyika, who was the drummer in Orange Juice. I didn't know who the June Brides were. I still didn't; I didn't pick up one of their records until the "Every Conversation" 12" on Pink about two years later. I missed out; they were done by then. All the while I was sitting in my stupid apartment thinking that Orange Juice was the end of the world, and no pop records would ever be made again, things were happening. I remember buying the LP version of C86 and a Felt record and, I think, "I Heard You The First Time" by the Razorcuts at the same time, in Berkeley, which is when I found out how wrong I was. I bought a lot of records then, which seemed to always suck; but all of a sudden they didn't. I got a Chesterf!elds record right after, and then a Brilliant Corners one, and then a dopey-looking single on something called Sarah Records, and I was down the rabbit hole.

"Bridal Suite" by Mat Snow, New Musical Express, 1 September 1985, p. 14. Photographs by Derek Ridgers.

I wish I'd listened up in 1985. I could have heard a lot more a lot earlier! It seems so bizarre now that the Brides were actually on the cover of a big-time magazine, picked to pop, you could say. Of course they didn't, which is the world's fault, not theirs.

The June Brides played out of tune; that's what everybody said, and it was true, and possibly out of time as well, but they were wonderful too, and all you had to do was cock your head and all the flaws fell into place and the delicacy shone through.

The article here makes some oblique references to Josef K, and you can hear a little Paul Haig in Phil Wilson's reedy, uncertain tenor, but where Josef K scratched and jerked, and kept the listener at a distance, the Brides bounced and popped, and pulled the listener in. What really made it work was the trumpet. God love a trumpet in pop.

I don't hear any Smiths in them, and certainly not any James, though I can see why someone might have in 1985.

My favorite quote from the article:
Jon: "We played a gig in Glasgow and we got up early so we could go to Liverpool, where we had a gig, via the Lake District so we could have a picnic by Lake Windermere. We could have stayed in Glasgow and got drunk down Sauciehall Street, but we didn't!

This is the most genuinely shocking on-the-road story I've ever heard.

You'll have to click on the article text pic and view the large size to read the rest. The pics are magnificent as well!


Anonymous said...

Hi! Thanks for the mention, and the kind words. Just to let you know, I shall be dispensing my reedy vocals in the US in July!Hopefully playing Portland about 18, 19 or 20 July. No Seattle date, but maybe see you in Portland? Best, Phil Wilson

Fnarf said...

Ooh, I think a Portland trip is in order for that!

ally. said...

they were indeed a truly wonderful thing and i treasure them still. super

David Lawrence said...

Thanks for the scan of the write up! I've been curious to read it. Funny you mention the Brilliant Corners because I think they must of been fans of the June Brides.

I'm living in Berkeley, glad to know someone else was walking these streets with a lust for pop.

where is the fun in this fun fair?