A brilliant LP from start to finish. Including only two singles
(unlike today when the whole LP gets released (Travis, Stereophonics')).
The first side is the most consistent
with 'Hold on I'm Coming', the only tune letting it down.
Maybe Tomorrow has been discussed already. 'Happy Families'
sentiment is 'this is how life is so you better put up with it'
. The songs inspiration must have been the English institution that
is 'Sunday afternoon round the families'. We all smile and put up
'Breaks My Heart' is the band at it's best. The chorus gets
me every time. This is how a song should sound . 'Tumbling Down'
again is brill. The lyric sounds like a remake of 'David Watts'
but deals with the exam system in this country. 'You go to school,
do as you are told, pass exams, etc.. and you will be someone' ABSOLUTE
BOLLOCKS, exam passes do not make an intelligent person, all exams
do is say you can remember. The lyric is still relevant in today's
world where more and more kids are being sorted into the those who
have and have nots.
'Hold on I'm coming' is okay but lets down the first side.
'I'm Not Sure' has to be the fastest song on the LP. The
lyric as before deals with the boss man pushing me down. How much
speed did they take to record this? (apparently the band was straight
for the whole LP session ED) On recordings in the studio bands usually
slow down, so bugger knows how fast this would have been live. It
also ends the side.
Side Two starts with 'Something
Missing' a different vocal to the single in that it includes
the 'fuck' word. 'It's No Use' sounds forced until it gets
to the chorus upon which the song lifts and goes for it. A great
guitar solo before crashing to a halt on the last chorus.
Billy's 'What We Gonna Do Now' is a usual boy girl stuff
and doesn't go anywhere for me. The trance like vocal on the fade
out is reminiscent of the 'Yardbirds'. Another cover this time from
the Beatles 'She Said, She Said' from the brilliant 'Revolver'.
An unusual cover but well executed. Buddy said in an interview that
he wished that song had been replaced with another original. I think
in hindsight that he may be right, but then it's always easier said
after the event.
'Dreamdolls' remind us why Billy was the singer. Quite obviously
about girl models. The song is a welcome change in lyrical content,
but it is over shadowed with the song that follows.
'So Far Away' is my favourite, always has been and always
will be. Apparently written about ' Jimmy Pursey' it would make
sense after the initial fiasco of getting the band signed. The amount
of times I have wished I could have been 'So Far Away' is unmeasurable.
It's the song that I always think of when I'm bored with work. The
basic structure of the song is classic 'Chords'. When it was played
at Mods Mayday in 1999 it took a 'German mod' (hello (Guten Tag)
Dennis ) to pull me down from the ceiling.
For a debut LP 'So Far Away' is very good if a little one dimensional. It has stood the test of time and doesn't sound that unlike a lot of contemporary bands. If you think I'm looking through rose tinted glasses I don't give a shit.
Now the LP has been lisenced to Captain Mod records it is at last available in CD format. As to be expected the sound quality is much improved and the drums sound more defined. I won't write a review as the is nothing new on the CD, all the tracks have been available before, but it is nice to have them all one disc. Copies are available from Captain Mod and Detour records.
N.B. A limited edition came with a re-recording of
'Now I'ts Gone' (Chris Pope) b/w 'Things we said' (Martin Mason)
Polydor KRODS 1 (2814 203)
A straight remake of the debut single. I assume because the band were unhappy with the original mix or was it to be included on the LP. The playing is much better and so I would recommend getting a copy. The b-side, sorry Martin, again it's poor. The title reminds me of 'Things we said today' by the Beatles, the song even uses the line once. A great freebie or a marketing ploy, Polydor were renowned for such ploys at the time to gain high chart placings in the first week of sale i.e. 'Going Underground' bonus single.