With a higher new entry in the singles chart than even The Stone Roses could manage, The Boo Radleys are cementing their place in the nation’s hearts. Fiona Shepherd gave Martin Carr an early morning alarm call.
Summer's come early this year. Must be ‘cos The Boo Radleys have a new album out.
Even when they're singing about summer going (as on Most Brilliant Pop Song Ever. Or At Least This Week ‘Wake Up 800'). there‘s blue sky as far as you can see. green hills. furry creatures frisking about and a tidal wave of optimism propelling things along. But then there's the claustrophobic rainy day blues of the album’s most poignant moment ‘Reach Out From Here‘ when everything'sjust too much bother. That's countered by songs of motivation and fresh beginnings like ‘Martin. Doom! lt‘s Seven ()‘Clock‘ (a privatejoke. i should think) with its exhortation to ‘gel out of bed/(Ion 'tforgel who! [I was you .rur'cl'. and the ridiculously catchy ‘Find The Answer Within‘ ('(10 you rr'mmu join the race/eon you keep the pace"), a song with a spring in its step and spring in the air. Really. The Boo Radleys are a band for all seasons and all moods.
‘Calling it Wake Up! was a message to ourselws.‘ says guitarist and songwriter Martin Carr. (Ironically. he’s yawning as he says this. Well. it is terribly early — llam. or something.) ‘lt's saying if you want to do something. you can. You can do it. if you go for it. It’s supposed to be a positive thing. Most of the songs were written really late at night. five or six. just when it‘s about to become morning. so it
The Boo Radleys: Waking up to bread and butter pudding
probany comes out that way.‘
The Boo Radleys‘ last concerted assault on the
senses was their WU} opus (from Steps. an allegedly
classic alburu v. hich had too many songs, too many frilly effects and not enough ttrnes. People loved it
It‘s apparent that the Fab Four have been listening to more than their regulation Beatles and Beach Boys platters. ‘lt’s Lulu' bowls along cheekily like The
? Only Ones or some other bunch of post-punk attitude
anyway. Following (iron! SIer with Wake Up.’ is like 2
following a fussy French meal with bread and btrtter pudding. but that's cool because bread and butter pudding is far ruore palatable anyway.
Hoke (’p.’ is a back-lobasics. in places almost naked record v. ith melodies. harmonies and simple btrt meaningful lyrics unashamedly to the fore. It sounds like the Boos have had a few not particularly original ideas. stuck to them and it’s paid off brilliantly. Because The Boo Radleys are one band who know how to write a proper song as opposed to an appealing riff.
‘.»\fter (innit .X'u'ps i really wanted to make a short pop album.‘ says Martin. ‘just to see if we could do it. more than anything. We were acttrally starting to lose sight of the fact that there is only four of us because we had all these people playing with us on the last album and when we were live. so we wanted to do something that mainlyjust involved the four of
mongers. and the stoned bluesy workout at the end of ‘Joel' suggests that the Boos swapped more than courteous salutations with The Stone Roses when the two bands passed in the corridor of Rock ’n' Roll Mecca, Rockfreld Studios in Wales. Sadly The Stone Roses don‘t seem capable of putting a full stop after their guitar solos whereas the Boos never let the rock
3 outdo the pop.
They are now, after all. Top Ten stars, Liverpool lads made good who probably feel light years on from the endurance test that was last year's travelling Lollapaloom festival when the group played in the car park to 150 people every afternoon while the main crowd pullers had the benefit of main stage exposure. So Martin. did you get anything out of it? ‘We got sunburn and that was it.‘
But let‘s have no more doom. Martin. Next week you'll wake up and The Boo Radleys wm be TOP OF THE POPS.
'I'lre Boo Rad/eys play The Garage. Glusgorr' on Tue 4.
Word to the wise
The story that everyone knows about The Painted Word concerns their first major record deal. Or what was almost their first deal. They had already released one groundwork-laying single, ‘lndependence Day’, for 02’s Mother label. flow the band were in the offices of Elektra in London, fizzy wine and party-peppers were poised for action as the contracts were handed over for their signing. Then came the call: Elektra’s paymasters in
New York were pulling the plug on their UK operations. The Painted Word were out on their ear.
RCA duly signed the Glasgow band and released the bouncin opulent single ‘Worldwide’. RCA duly dropped the band and didn’t release the Technicolor extravagance that was the 1989 album ‘Lovelife’. ‘A new managing director came in,’ remembers sole flame-carrier Alan McCusker-Thompson. ‘They looked at the accounts, saw how much they’d spent on it and how much they’d get back, which would have been zero. it’d been the usual haif-a-miliion pounds - the whole trip, Dave Gilmour’s studio, videos in Mexico, everything.’
If McCusker-Thompson is the unluckiest man in pop, he doesn't sound bitter. That said, ‘it took me two years to become a wonderful human
being again after being involved in the music business.’
But now he’s back, with ‘Universal’, a winsome, self-funded album that he pored over in the spare moments when not lecturing in TV production at Cardenald College. ‘The first album was meant to be a blue sky album, really, really joyous and lush. This one is a more reflective album, the dominant atmosphere is starlight. It’s a deeper kind of music . . .’
Reflective and deeper, older but wiser, and better equipped to deal with a brutalising industry. ‘The show’s on April Fool’s Day - I thought that was an apt date for getting involved in the music business again.’ (Craig McLean)
The Painted Word play King Tut's, Glasgow on Set 1.
The List 24 Mar-6 Apr 1995 33