Go back to the early '90's and there was something of a buzz going on in the smaller venues of London Town and numerous other cities of the UK. A number of bands were emerging onto the scene that rejected the squeaky clean, polished pop of the late '80's. These were bands that were getting back to basics once more, bands with guitars and I'd say mod sensibilities (with a dash of new wave thrown in). The music press caught on and ever keen to label bands, 'Brit Pop' came into our consciousness.
I was 25 at the time and sad to say not very open to new music. Of course there was Blur and Oasis and a raft of there lesser bands whose flames burned brightly for the 12 months or so whilst the music press maintained their interest (Sleeper, Echobelly........ Menswear!). Some of the bands were great, others seemed to be bandwagoning (much the same as with the punk scene some 17/18 years before I suppose). One band however stood head and shoulders above the others for me and they were Elastica. For a while, they were the hottest property in the UK music scene. They offered something that had been lacking in music since punk i.e. a predominantly female band with more than enough attitude to send the boys running for cover.
Elastica also offered something else. In bass player Annie Holland they had someone who was once again bringing the bass back as a lead instrument. It was this dirty bass sound (very reminiscent of JJ's bass style that I and many other Stranglers fans found so appealing, other still were taken by the black leggings and Doctor Martens combination... you know who you are!). Then of course there were the songs. Now, it is fair comment that Elastica's musical influences were pretty accurately reflected in their own material. This led to out of court settlements with bands for plagarism (perhaps most notably Wire, although The Stranglers were themselves involved due to a more than passing resemblance between their 'Waking Up' and 'No More Heroes'). But all that stuff was best left to the lawyers. What Elastica gave us in this period was one classic album and a clutch of brilliant singles, some of which feature in this good quality festival set.
Unfortunately, Elastica did not follow up on the early success of their debut album and a full 5 years elapsed before the follow up was released. By that time, the momentum had all but peetered out to a crawl and the band split followed shortly after.
It was shortly after a gig in 1995 at the Shepherds Bush Empire that I bumped into Paul Roberts in Picadilly tube station on his way to meet John Ellis and SIS France for an interview. I was wearing an Elastica shirt and with the 'Waking Up' legal issue still a very recent memory, Paul made some comment on the shirt (he did say that he really liked them it is worth pointing out). He was rather taken aback that I knew who he was, at which point he asked for my opinion on the then recently released 'About Time' album. Sadly, I gave him my constructive but not exactly positive view on the album. He took it well, but the conversation ended shortly afterwards!
OK over to you to spot the song influences!
01. In The City
02. Never Here
03. Ba Ba Ba
06. Waking Up
07. Brighton Rock
08. 2:1 (Instrumental Version)
09. See That Animal
10. Hold Me Now
13. Presenter Outro
Annie Holland (Elastica)