What Is There To Smile About?

September 8, 2009 at 8:48 am | Posted in C-86, Reissues | 1 Comment
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Close Lobsters - Forever Until Victory

Allmusic describes them as neo-psychedelic jangle pop, the Trouser Press said they established a distinctive sound above the din of C-86 janglomania.  Others claimed they were part Orange Juicethe Church, Only Ones and Echo and the Bunnymen.   Whatever the case, Scottland’s Close Lobsters were stuff of which legends are made.  Unlike so many other bands that get labeled with the C-86 tag, the Close Lobsters were actually on that hallowed NME cassette.  Their song Firestation Towers was included on the compilation, and soon after they signed to Fire records and put out their first proper single, I’m Going to Heaven to See If It Rains.  Then in a matter of three years, Two albums, an EP and a bunch of singles, poof!  They were gone. Along with Animals that Swim and Moose, the Close Lobsters are one of those bands that I’ve always hoped for a reunion and a surprise new record.  A reunion doesn’t look too promising as lead Lobster Andrew Burnett has gone off in an enirely different direction with his latest project CLS Kunstwerk, but the Close Lobsters do have sort of a surprise new record coming.

Their two albums Foxheads Stalk This Land and Headache Rhetoric are well worth seeking out.  Foxheads was reissued a few years ago, but Headache Rhetoric is shamefully out of print.  Both of these records as well as the What Is There To Smile About EP still get frequent play in my house. I knew that there were a lot of stray singles, b-sides and compilation tracks that the band had released, and I’ve always hoped that someone would compile all these lost jems and put them out.  It seems that the band and their label have been thinking that there are enough people like me to actually go and release a record that does just that.  The CD is titled Forever, Until Victory!  It’s due to come out in October on Fire, and on it you can expect to get that C-86 track, first two pre-album singles  Going To Heaven To See If It Rains and Never Seen Before, nearly all of the What Is There To Smile About EP as well as stellar covers of Neil Young’s Hey Hey My My (Into the Black), the Only Ones‘ Wide Waterways, and Leonard Cohen’s Paper Thin Hotel.  If you already have all of these songs in one format or another, then maybe the fact the two of the Lobsters themselves (Andrew Burnett and Graeme Wilmington) have remastered all of the tracks.  Most likely if  you are a longtime fan this will fill in the gaps.  If you’re someone looking for and introduction to a great band from the 80’s this is good place to start.  Either way, there is lots to smile about.

Cheers to Cloudberry Cake Proselytism where I read about this reissue in his interview with Andrew Burnett.

mp3: The Close Lobsters – Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)

mp3: The Close Lobsters – Nature Thing

mp3: The Close Lobsters – D.D.I.R.N. (conspicuously left off of this compilation, found on the Great Fire of London compilation)

You can pre-order the Close Lobsters, Forever Until Victory from Fire Records.  See the full track listing after the click….

1      Going To Heaven To See If It Rains
2     Never Seen Before
3     Lets Make Some Plans
4     What Is There To Smile About?
5     Loopholes
6     Nature Thing
7     Skyscrapers of St. Mirin
8     In Spite of These Times
9     From This Day On
10     Don’t Worry
11     Firestation Towers
12     Pimps
13     Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)
14     Paperthin Hotel
15     Wide Waterways
16     Boys And Girls
17     Pathetik Trivia
18     Get What They Deserve
19     Never Seen Before (Live)

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