heard on the wire

As routine bites hard

petrol station

Every so often I hear a new track that begs to be played over and over. The first time I remember this happening was some 30 years ago, when I brought home the seven-inch of Love Will Tear Us Apart. As I recall, albeit very vaguely, I played it 18 times in a row, enchanted.

As Joy Division songs go—and this is all relative of course, given that almost every Joy Division song towers over more than 99% of other bands’ output—it leaves me rather cold these days. There’s a lesson there somewhere.

So just in case I’ll draw a line at six or seven plays—for now—of the debut recording by Mega Emotion. For reasons known only to this blog and a select few industry insiders, this track was removed from the tail end of an earlier blog post. Because, in truth, it deserves to stand at the head of a post of its own, such is its giddy electronic brilliance. More than a hint of New Order too, which is no bad thing, though the giddiness is all Mega Emotion’s.

Mega Emotion :: Brains

That song has the privilege of being the only one among my 18,000-plus iTunes with the word “brain” in the title and emotion appears in just three, though both are pretty much essential to great popular music. Formed from the ashes of the Undertones, That Petrol Emotion combined both, in a blistering blend of rock ’n’ pop that produced a couple of the finest live shows I’ve ever seen. If their records don’t quite capture that then they’re not alone.

That Petrol Emotion :: Big Decision

Audio MP3

American singer aside, TPE were arguably the finest Irish band of their time, a mantle that was later, if briefly, taken up by Ash. And with a coincidence that is this blog’s hallmark, this was their second single.

Ash :: Petrol

Audio MP3

Meanwhile Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey enjoyed a mediocre bt successful solo carrer, before becoming an unapologetic stooge for everything that is bad about the music industry. What a waste of such a great voice. Nice bloke too, at least that’s what my brother said when he got him to sign my copy of My Perfect Cousin.

This was a one-off single that Sharkey recorded with Vince Clarke, then fresh from leaving Depeche Mode and soon to enjoy critical and commercial success with Yazoo (we won’t mention Erasure, if only they had been). It’s a pity he ever embarked on that solo career, because this would have been a perfect swansong.

The Assembly :: Never Never

Audio MP3

And I was only kidding, it doesn’t really leave me cold. Especially this version from Joy Division’s second and last Peel session.

Joy Division :: Love Will Tear Us Apart

Audio MP3

Photo: petrol station by Jos van der Vleuten; some rights reserved

Twitter: Mega Emotion

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.


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