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1 review »Waaaaay way back in time before the chance meeting with Ben Watt in Hull which led to Everything But The Girl, a young Tracey Thorn  was at sixth form in Hadfield, Hertfordshire and formed a school band with a couple of fellow sixth formers. They recorded this, their debut album in a garden shed and it was later released on Daniel Treacy’s Whaaam label. Although Thorn’s debut alb ... »

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  • CRP205LP
  • CRP205LP / Reissue LP on Cherry Red

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9/10 Clinton Staff review, 07 January 2014

Waaaaay way back in time before the chance meeting with Ben Watt in Hull which led to Everything But The Girl, a young Tracey Thorn  was at sixth form in Hadfield, Hertfordshire and formed a school band with a couple of fellow sixth formers. They recorded this, their debut album in a garden shed and it was later released on Daniel Treacy’s Whaaam label.

Although Thorn’s debut album ‘A Distant Shore’ is probably one of the greatest bedsit records ever made, its well worth trecking back further to these early recordings where amongst the cute, girlish lo-fi pop there are the most remarkable indicators to what Thorn would eventually achieve. Opener ‘In Love’ showcases everything great about the band within two minutes. The rudimentary out of tune guitar, Thorns already incredibly heartfelt vocals and a naive, ramshackle charm. Despite Thorn’s nascent talent, most of the vocals were handled by Gina Hartman and although not as good a singer there’s a charm to her voice which really hits the heart.

This might sound ridiculous but ‘Fridays’ is almost like some kind of proto hip hop based around a repetitive scratchy guitar and spoken word lyrics. The best bits are always when Thorn’s voice interjects. ‘Tutti La Sonno’ is already naively brilliant but listen to Thorns swoonsome background vocals, creating a completely different atmosphere to the track. She takes lead on ‘Honey’ and its just startlingly beautiful. The album is almost shockingly naive and basically produced but is wonderfully enjoyable. ‘Dishonesty’ features four or five chords with a wonderful chorus, everything flailing wildly out of tune.

The follow up ‘Lazy Ways’ when they’d learnt to play their instruments is even better but this record has a charm I’ve never heard in any record released before or since. Pure 1981 home-fi DIY pop,  the nearest contemporaries would be Young Marble Giants but in comparison this appears to be played and sung by children. Just fantastic.

 

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