Music journalist Everett True’s gushing sleeve notes for this best of compilation of 80s indie band Talulah Gosh show how much of an impact they had on his life.
To him they were carrying on the punk tradition of the previous decade, playing DIY music the good way and combining it with a wonderful twee C86 indie pop glow of the time.
Among musicicans as well they have proved just as influencial. Just visit the Indietracks festival, held in Derbyshire each year, to see a raft of bands looking and sounding like the direct musical descendants of this Oxford quintet, from more familiar names such as Allo Darlin’ to more obscure ones such as Big Wave.
As career retrospectives go the songs pick themselves as they were only around for such a short time (1986 – 1988). As a result this compilation is their complete recordings and essentially a slightly padded out version of their 1996 compilation Backwash. As well as all the Backwash tracks, including live tracks and radio session versions, this features four extra demos of Steaming Train, I Told You so, Mmm Mmm, He’s So Dreamy and Sunny Inside.
This makes this pretty much a no go purchase for anyone who already has Backwash, unless of course they are one of life’s completists.
But for those new to the band, or have only heard them spoken of in hushed tones by their local indie pop band, this is pretty much an essential purchase.
Years on and I’d say the likes of Morris and True are right to hold them in such high esteem. It also shows the huge potential they had to move away from the rigidity of their short twee-punk songs, with their musicianship and production quality growing with each release.
Take Escalator Over The Hill for example. It has that dreamy Cocteau Twins and Velvet Underground feel to it, but the guitar work awakens it into something altogether different, starting melodic before descending into chaos.
The guitars on I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (Thank God) are also superb with The Smith’s Johnny Marr clearly a strong influence on them.
My Boy Says is just about the most infectiously glorious pop track around. And listen carefully to its intricate guitar melody; it’ll make you feel really good inside, I guarantee.
Talulah Gosh, their most well known song, is also still great, with its wonderful change of pace from melancholy to frantic.
Its been great listening back through their back catalogue as Talulah Gosh were one of those key bands from that passed me by at the time. From afar I guess with all their tweeness I thought they were a bit of a joke act, as I opted instead to The Wedding Present and the brilliantly quirky pop of That Petrol Emotion. Sounds like I was missing out though.
by Joe Lepper