Tuesday, 23 April 2013
103 World Without End - Mighty Lemon Drops
Purchased : 9th September 1988
Tracks : Inside Out / One By One / In Everything You Do / Hear Me Call/ No Bounds / Fall Down / Crystal Clear / Hollow Inside / Closer To You / Breaking Down
This was bought on cassette from Woolworths in Ashton-under-Lyne at the same time as the Al Stewart LP. The purchase was largely influenced by buying their "Live EP" a month or so earlier with its scorching live rendition of their recent flop single "Fall Down".
The Mighty Lemon Drops were from Wolverhampton and were one of those post-Live Aid rock bands generously featured in Record Mirror 1986-7 ( possibly one of the reasons for its eventual demise ) and bracketed under the terms "C86" ( they were on the tape ) or "shambling". Not all the coverage was favourable; it was rare to read a review that didn't refer to Echo and the Bunnymen somewhere but this "scene" that I'd largely missed out on for lack of funds still had some allure - at least prior to this purchase.
This was their second album and the first for Chrysalis ( backing former Rough Trade supremo Geoff Travis's Blue Guitar imprint ). It was their biggest seller claiming a number 34 placing in the spring of 1988. It kicks off with "Inside Out" a very minor hit ( and their last ) in January. That Bunnymen influence is immediately apparent in the driving beat and soaring chorus but it's a reasonable song of post- desertion desperation let down by some trite rhymes.
That's not the case with "One By One" with its clodhopping drums and sub-Mission guitar shapes backing a vaguely accusatory song and its tuneless bluster recalling Joy Division's Warsaw. " In Everything You Do" is less aggressive but just as uninteresting with leaden drumming that makes Larry Mullen seem like Mick Fleetwood and melody and lyrics of spirit-crushing dreariness.
"Hear Me Call " starts off with Bunny-esque pacy purpose but once again those drums start pulling it down and once you get to the "people / steeple" rhyme in the chorus you know you're in the presence of mediocrity. "No Bounds " tunelessly grinds away but goes nowhere.
Back in 1988 it was quite a relief to flip over for "Fall Down" which owes a lot to The Chameleons' In Shreds and isn't as exciting as the live version but is still, by some distance , the best song on the album with decent, self-pitying lyrics and a chorus you might actually want to hear again.
The quality immediately dips again with "Crystal Clear" whose lyrics are anything but. Dave Newton's semi-acoustic guitar is superficially attractive but it's another plodding dirge with no real chorus and Paul Marsh's one note vocals are beginning to grate.
"Hollow Inside" introduces some welcome variety to the sound with a melancholy piano riff
and it's an acceptable slice of Goth-pop despite a very uninspired lyric.
"Closer To You" is a pitiful attempt to re-write Joy Division's Atmosphere which deserves no further comment. That just leaves "Breaking Down" which has a make-it-up-as-we-go-along quality to it and allows Newton a minute or so of not particularly startling guitar abuse at the end before a sudden and welcome cut-off.
The band limped for another four years although Chrysalis bailed out when the next LP tanked. Newton apparently still works as a record producer and engineer although his client list is only distinguished by the fact I've not heard of any of them.
I'm well aware that this post is on the short side but I can't see much point in wasting too many words on such dull music. I'm reminded that their home town team were in the old Fourth Division at the time of this LP's release and this is music to match. If this was the best indie rock had to offer in the late eighties it's no wonder a generation ( and contemporaries like The Soup Dragons and Primal Scream ) turned to the dance floor. And that was the silver lining for me; it killed off any thought of exploring the back catalogue of The Bodines or The Shop Assistants. Often, music doesn't sell because it's not very good.