heard on the wire

There is surely nothing worse than washing sieves

Taking Off

There’s no reason for posting this other than that I haven’t been able to keep it out of my head for about a month now.

Artery were a short-lived Sheffield band who achieved a modicum, and I mean modicum, of success with their fourth single Into the Garden. Their sixth was The Alabama Song, on the b-side of which was this wonderful lament.

I just can’t get it out of my head.

Artery : A Song for Lena

Audio MP3

And for the curious among you.

Artery :: Into the Garden

Audio MP3

Short-lived the band may have been in their eighties heyday, but at the behest of Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker they reformed to make a live LP in 2007 and a studio recording, Civilisation, in 2011. It’s not on my shopping list.

I’m ambivalent about bands reforming; for every New Order being simply astonishing in Brussels last year there’s an OMD being too old and lacking the depth of songs to pull it off. And when you come out of an Echo and the Bunnymen gig thinking that a once great bad had just spent 90 minutes going through the motions, it’s enough to make you think twice before coughing up for tickets to see another cherished memory of youth being dashed on the rocks of “didn’t have pension plan”.

The Clash never reformed, nor did the Jam, despite knowing how much it would net them. And credit to Abba, who could spend the rest of their lives counting the cash from just one comeback tour.

One option, of course, is never to split in the first place, just sack the band and start over every so often as Mark E Smith has been doing with The Fall for 35 years; the other is to make sure that you come back with a damn fine record.

Take the Undertones for instance, shorn of original singer Feargal Sharkey, they released a couple of decent LPs, notably 2003’s Get What You Need.

Manic Street Preachers fans, turn away now.

The Undertones :: Oh Please

Audio MP3

And talking of the Manics, here’s another band that kind-of reformed, having left six years between their first two LPs. Any excuse to shoehorn in another Nigel Blackwell composition.

Half Man Half Biscuit :: Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes

Audio MP3

Photo: Taking Off by Mr Ducke; some rights reserved

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