Where I dig into something I’ve not heard before, from the reviews section of old Mojo Magazines, on an irregular basis.
1994 – Setanta
When you become a massive record nerd, you find yourself drawn to certain times and cultures through history. For me, one of those eras is Glasgow in the early 80s. Please take me down the Byres Road with my Postcard Records knapsack, on my way to watch a Bill Forsyth film.
I buy into Postcard Records fully. And once you do, Edwyn Collins is a god. I have every album by his band Orange Juice. So why have I never explored his solo stuff?
A song from this album is definitely where it started for me and Edwyn. Years before someone gave me a copy of You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever (the first Orange Juice album) Edwyn had an unlikely worldwide hit with ‘A Girl Like You‘. A 60s garage fuzz pop burst, it was an unexpected throwback that worked.
Gorgeous George is the album that followed that worldwide hit. It’s nice to meet and really get to know the older Edwyn. Postcard Edwyn was always strange and hypnotic, cool older kid from your school. But he’s turned into a reflective young man still obsessed by rock n roll, some 15 years later.
The songs are still about the primal rock n roll food groups – girls, love, music itself, get-me-outta-here. The lyrics and stories are fun, but they aren’t the groundbreaking voice that roared into life in 79. Which is perhaps why this album is not remembered so fondly.
The album sounds great. It doesn’t sound dated at all, much like the best produced Brit Pop of the era. There’s those pretty smattering a of Northern Soul. There’s lovely lighter moments such as Low Expectations that recalls Lloyd Cole at his quietest. Collins voice is still full of rich yearning. His guitar playing is top notch – Lou Reed messy but on it when he needs to be. And somehow the Sex Pistols‘ Paul Cook is on drums.
Highlights abound. Northern soul fans will find If You Could Love Me, the other single from this album and a song I can no longer live without. The title track is another soulful slice of pop. This really is an album best enjoyed in a flat above a shop in Northern Britain.
Collins suffered a cerebral haemorrhage in 2005. He has been recovering and even toured Australia and I caught an amazing show. He is still making music and I am now making my way through his solo stuff.