Not raving but drowning: indie losers of 1989 remembered
At the start of 1989, fraggle colossus The Wonder Stuff were NME’s “flower of the nation”, edging out The Wedding Present, The house Of Love and The Darling Buds. By the end of the year, the Stone Roses had conquered all, occupying three of the four top slots in the paper’s annual singles poll. The fourth volume of Cherry Red’s indie-cyclopaedia Brittanica, C89 captures the upcoming acts Ian Brown’s boys rendered obsolete. Represented here by classy B-side “Going Down”, the Roses were as Byrds-y and derivative as any band of the post-Smiths diaspora, but had a carpe diem swagger that the Milltown Brothers or the Popguns lacked. With no Sundays, no Lush and no Inspiral Carpets, C89 is not so much a survey of indie in the year of Simple Minds’ grisly “Belfast Child” as a memento mori for the uncool as fuck acts who never found a dance element to their music, The Wilderness Children’s frenzied “Plastic Bag From Tescos”, Orchids’ Kinks-y “What Will We Do Next?”, and The New FADs’ clanky “Lions” all minuscule triumphs at odds with their times. Extras: 7/10. Unreleased Church Grims, Newsflash, Moss Poles and Fallover 24 songs, plus curator Neil Taylor’s helpful guide to all 72 bands featured.