Tag Archives: 1998

Rocks In The Attic #734: Manic Street Preachers – ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’ (1998)

rita#734Love and hate. Loved the Manics at this point in their career; hated this album.

It makes for a hard listen: This Is My Migraine Tell Me Yours. If you didn’t know anything about the band, and were asked which album they recorded immediately after losing their friend and band member Richey Edwards, you’d think it was this, not the anthemic Everything Must Go from 1996.

It’s almost like a delayed hangover. Lose your bandmate, record a positive, feelgood hit of an album, then retreat and make something reflective and inward-looking. I struggled for so long trying to make some sense of its bleakness, and then all-but gave up when the desolation continued with 2001’s Know Your Enemy.

rita#734aI first heard lead single If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next at a friend’s house with a few other people. My friend was channel-hopping and landed on MTV. The music video for the song started, and after 30 seconds he changed the channel again with a resounding ‘Ugh!’

If the song can’t hold the attention of your average (non-Manics) rock music fan, what chance does everybody else have? Still, the album reached #1 in the UK album charts (probably on the strength of its predecessor), and the band went on to headline the following year’s Glastonbury festival.

I attended that Glastonbury, it was my first one, and I was so excited to finally see one of my favourite bands at the time. The setlist, not surprisingly, was comprised mainly of songs from Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth. Only Motown Junk and two songs from the debut (Motorcycle Emptiness, You Love Us) were aired. Gold Against The Soul was the most underplayed (La Tristesse Durera), and only two songs from The Holy Bible were played (Yes and P.C.P.). Such was the rabid fervour of Manics fans that Yes was abandoned mid-song due to a crush in the crowd, before being restarted.

rita#734bAny discussion of the Manics’ ’99 Glastonbury show would be incomplete without mentioning their toilet faux pas. In a misguided – but to be fair, probably just misunderstood – display of elitism, the band had their own exclusive port-a-loo toilet installed backstage. It didn’t take long for the music press to latch onto it, who pointed out how far the band had come from their anarchic roots. This is my loo, go use yours.

Listening now to this pristine 20th-anniversary pressing, it’s clear that This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours is a beautiful album. It’s just dull as dishwater for the most part. The sound of a band heavily sedated, deep in therapy. Just look at that cover. They look lost.

Hit: If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

Hidden Gem: Black Dog On My Shoulder

Rocks In The Attic #277: The Bluetones – ‘Return To The Last Chance Saloon’ (1998)

RITA#277The Bluetones are, for me, the epitome of sub-par, late ‘90s Indie / Britpop. I don’t know what I dislike more – Mark Morriss’ overly adenoidal vocals, or their propensity to arpeggiate chord progressions with jangly guitars, as if the Smiths and the Stone Roses invented music and left no other choice. Needless to say, I stayed far away from their anorak-wearing warblings of their first album of 1996.

It was only due to laziness – and the fact that I’d just seen Live play live on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury on a sunny Friday afternoon in 2000 – that I caught their set. I remember a lot of Frisbees flying around – heavy blue-plastic ones that looked like they hurt when they hit the occasional festival goer in the bonce – and beach balls flying around in the crowd at the front of the stage.

I also remember the band playing Solomon Bites The Worm, having never heard the song before, and I’m a sucker for a decent guitar riff. I also like lyrics that follow a set pattern – in this case, the days of the week. The other surprise of their set was a cover of the Minder TV theme, I Could Be So Good For You, complete with fumbled piano parts.

I bought this album on my return to Manchester, on white vinyl, with a nice saloon door pop-out on the inner gatefold. Aside from Solomon Bites The Worm and the infectious If, the rest of the material doesn’t really do anything for me. I struggle to make my way through its mostly boring 62 minutes. Like a lot of albums from the late ‘90s, it’d be much better if it was half as long.

Hit: If

Hidden Gem: Tone Blooze

Rocks In The Attic #221: Super Furry Animals – ‘Outspaced’ (1998)

RITA#221With many thanks to my university housemates of my third year, Ferg and Kaj, this album was my introduction to the Super Furries. Most other people found the band through their debut, Fuzzy Logic, which I turned to next, but this b-sides and rarities album was an ample introduction to one of the best – and most enduring – bands to have emerged during the ‘90s.

There’s nothing to dislike on this album – the Welsh songs from their Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwllantysiliogogogochynygofod (In Space) EP (a reissue of which I have in my 7” collection), their Moog Droog EP, and numerous b-sides from their first couple of albums. The jewel in the crown is The Man Don’t Give A Fuck – a 1996 single built around an obscene lyric from Steely Dan’s Show Biz Kids.

That song followed me around for a while – not only was it always one of my fall-back songs to play when DJing after I left university, but a poster for the single adorned the living room of a later shared house, thanks to fellow SFA-fan Moo.

Some b-sides albums by bands can be very patchy affairs, without the coherence of a studio-album’s structure to pull it together. SFA are such an odd band – playing across so many different musical styles, and making huge left turns at every single point in time – that this album gels just as well as their studio albums from around the same time. Because of that, I’ve always regarded it as album number three proper, due to the place it falls in their chronology.

This album holds some very nice memories – Ferg endlessly singing Guacamole to himself when the album was first released, seeing SFA play live at Glastonbury a year later and watching them encore with The Man Don’t Give A Fuck as a van drove slowly into the crowd assembled at The Other Stage (when people started to climb onto the van, a large black fellow, presumably the driver, looking like B.A. Baracus, also got up there and started throwing people off into the crowd – this whole bizarre scenario was captured in the film of the clip available on their Songbook DVD), playing songs from the album during my DJ sets at 38 Bar / The Castle in Oldham, and generally just coming back to these songs time and time again.

Hit: The Man Don’t Give A Fuck

Hidden Gem: Dim Brys: Dim Chwys