Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Heaven, must be there-ere Well, it's just got to be there-ere I've never - never seen Eden I don't wanna live in this place

Quick Hit

“Heaven (Must be There), Eurogliders (1984)

If you ever bought LP records you will remember the smell and feel of fresh vinyl. If you never have, you really missed out on a very pleasant tactile experience.  Let me explain-

The LP format was a thing of art. First of all you had cover art, which could have excellent art, pictures, or designs and would often have a very readable wealth of information on the back of the cover. It was not too tiny like on CDs and not non-existent like on downloadable music. The records themselves would have sleeves (inside the cover) that often contained the lyrics of songs and/or a blurb about the band and detailed credits of who and how the record was produced. In short you could learn a lot about it before you even played it (or even bought it for that matter).
Finally you pulled the record out of the sleeve: it is glimmering, shiny and new. It has this ‘factory smell’ too it, that if you loved records, you would come to associate with the experience of new music. Then you would carefully place the LP (carefully so as not to get finger prints on it) on your turntable and gingerly set the stylus down on it. (Some people had ‘auto play’ turntables that put the stylus down, but if you were a true record lover, you wanted to do this yourself, as the mechanical process was rather clumsy and tended to sort of drop the needle on to the record – bad!) The pristine vinyl made no hisses and pops as with very well player and/or abused records, but may have a faint sound of good ol’ analog ‘perfection’ before it struck the first note. If you knew the songs already, then this was a great experience - if you had anything approaching decent equipment that you were playing this on. Normally you had heard this on a less than perfect radio that had less than perfect sound so when you finally heard it on a brand new record it was brilliant and clear. If you had not heard the song you may have found something you really like – or maybe not.

The Eurogliders was something I bought on ‘spec’. I had heard the single “Heaven” and liked it but it was not charting great. I never cared about how records charted particularly; I cared about whether I like it. The thing that I thought was peculiar about this song was that the singer did not want to live in this place that had sand and was warm. I was like “Really? How do I get there? You are talking about Australia right? Maybe the Gold Coast or the Reef? Why would you go anywhere? (O.K. they were in Perth but still) Anyway, the band had a certain ‘sound’ and I liked it – I was curious. 

“Heaven” was #2 in their native Australia of this Perth based band from their album “This Island”. It has a unique but sort of post-punk sound to it. Somewhat repetitive and synthesizer-laiden it did not catch on as well in the U.S., where the single went to number 21. The follow-up album “Absolutely” spawned a few local hits only really. This was actually their third album as the Manila-recorded “Pink Suit Blue Day” (their first album) did not even chart in Australia. 

The Eurogliders had a direct influence of the English punk scene. When they changed record labels in 1983 from Polygram to CBS they traveled to England where they recruited former Lene Lovich bass guitarist Scot Saunders. Lene Lovich was a transplanted American that had come over to the U.K. (like Chrissy Hind of the Pretenders) to be part of the punk scene. Lovich’s greatest success was the song “Lucky Number” in 1979. She seemed to have one foot in punk and one foot in new wave music.

This ‘Eurogliders’ album in particular does not have a remarkable cover, and by the eighties like a  lot of albums had this flimsy little plastic thing as the inner sleeves, but the vinyl was new and fresh and it was interesting to hear music from the other side of the planet. Vinyl was seriously on the demise in those years and the albums themselves were made on lighter and lighter weight vinyl so were almost flimsy. All that aside, it was still nice to crack open a brand new album to get a quick LP fix. I would liken it to how a smoker might feel when they start to ban cigarettes altogether -   even if they are in plain brown paper wrapping and have been ‘sanitized’ they savour the ‘ceremony’ and the buzz for a while longer; the nostalgia already creeping in - the withdrawl just as harsh.

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