Vinyl LP £23.49 OPT4 8
Red coloured vinyl LP + 7" on Optic Nerve. Edition of 500 copies.
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- Banking, Violence & The Inner Life Today by McCarthy
There is a track on an upcoming album by A New Line (related) entitled ‘Vote Malcolm Eden’. The protagonist is obviously a McCarthy fan as you were often unsure whether you were supposed to listen to McCarthy or vote for them. Leader Malcolm Eden’s lyrics form a marxist manifesto which, rarely for ‘politically’ motivated music, comes across not as preachy but as challenging and thought provoking. Never is a lyric sheet more required as solely listening to the music doesn’t do his words justice, as often the lyrics are buried or webbed around the music in such a way that you wonder how on earth they fit.
McCarthy emerged out of the C86 scene with a vibrant brand of indie pop. They are most famous for containing future Stereolab man Tim Gane (and on this album Laetitia Sadier) and for forming part of Manic Street Preachers' manifesto when they said that they wanted to sound like a cross between McCarthy and Guns N’ Roses (if only). The debut album ‘I Am A Wallet’ is truly superb, its follow up ‘The Enraged Will Inherit the Earth’ a muted take on its sound while on this, their swansong, they showed a willingness to experiment which showed mixed results and at times slowly turned them towards the sound that Gane and Sadier would carry on with in Stereolab.
The album lacks the rawness of the fast-paced ‘I Am A Wallet’ and at times the songs plod but has a clutch of memorable efforts and even a shot at the indie dance crossover. As has been pointed out to me twice during initially listening to this album they sound an awful lot like The Smiths. Guitars strum and jangle while Eden enunciates in a similar way to Morrissey although his thin and reedy voice lacks the thickness of Morrisseys foghorn. Highlights include ‘Use a Bank I’d Rather Die’ with its backwards guitar and hints of ‘Meat is Murder’, and one of their most charmingly melodic pieces ‘The Well Fed Point of View’ all glisteny jangle and gorgeous summery melodies not unlike the Go-Betweens of ‘16 Lovers Lane’.
The album comes with a bonus 7” containing tracks from ‘Get a Knife Between Your Teeth’ one of which ‘Can the Haves Use their Brains’ is wonderfully Smithsian. Although a truly great band, I’m not convinced this is their best album, I’m much happier with the swift and raw ‘I Am A Wallet’ (or the ace compilation ‘Thats All Very Well But’). Lyrically superb throughout, their music perhaps lacked the concise nature it once had, still a very valid artifact. I wish they or someone like them were around in these similarly politically challenging times.
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