Title: New Sacral
Label: Occultation recordings / Fishrider records
Tell me more: Few may be familiar with Martin Bramah, but he was an original member of The Fall, and the lynchpin of Blue Orchids, who took The Fall’s hypnotic, psych-punk to a new level.
The Lowdown: New Sacral is a mini-album, a rarity nowadays with the emphasis increasingly on downloads and the opportunity of expansion, but they were a relatively common sort in the 80s and 90s largely by indie bands taking the opportunity to experiment or diversify. New Sacral is a work that delves into the darker side of life, with an eerie, yet invigorating Strangely Lucid being the focal point of the release. It does share an affinity with Blue Orchids’ Greatest Hit album from 1982, (which I was coincidentally listening to before receiving this), notably on Incorruptible where Bramah intones the title track numerous occasions with a grim knowningness. It would fit in perfectly on the Flying Nun label but much kudos to Fishrider records for picking up on this.
Look further: occultation.co.uk/ fishriderrecords.com
Title: Neither Love Nor Money
Label: Pronoia records
Tell me more: The Chrysalids were formed by John Wood, of the mid-80s twee-pop act 1,000 Violins and Frenchman Yves Altana, who had found his way to Manchester.
The Lowdown: Spearmint, themselves an under-looked English pop band of the late 90s/ early 00s, recorded a brilliant tribute to the forgotten masses of the music scene, the acts who never released a single, and bailed out after a tour of the surrounding towns. If there ever was an updated version of Sweeping the Nation, the Chrysalids would be among the roll call of bands they could pay their respects to.
Only one track – My Heart Is Where My Home Is – ever made it onto a formal release, on a “low-rent compilation … which found its way into the bargain bins”, according to the sleeve notes.
Having shrugged all twee/ shambling influences to the side, Wood and Altana created a band that sounded far more mature, with a lot of emotion, and willing to delve deep into their psyche. This belated release reveals a dynamic duo with big choruses, evident on Shrine (one of five tracks re-recorded last year) and the hook-laden Too Lucky to Listen, but there are also a number of sombre moments.
The sleevenotes suggests The Chrysalids were undone by record labels prowling for anything that smelt of the Stone Roses. Which has a certain resonance, but most bands of that time, including the Roses, James, and the Happy Mondays began on small indie labels and fought their corner for years before making it. That surely would have been the route for Wood and Altana.
Look further: pronoia-records.com, alchemized.co.uk