I WAS PLEASANTLY taken aback late last year when I read that an unheralded classic from two decades ago would again see the light of day, laden with B-sides, a radio session, a rare EP and, perhaps best of all half a dozen unreleased tracks, which would have provided the backbone of their second album if they had lasted the course.
The band is Five Thirty (but I prefer 5:30), and the album is Bed, originally released in September 1991 on EastWest, and now reissued on 3 Loop Music, a label with the aim of “re-engaging artists and fans,”. The reissue has come about with the help of Lee Rourke, the man behind the well written and thoroughly researched 5:30 blogsite (see link below).
Lee writes some excellent notes to the album, as do both Tara Milton and Phil Hopper of the band. So there’s little need for me to provide any background but you are more than welcome to see my previous blog on the band: https://craighaggis.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/just-who-is-the-530-hero/
Supernova was the burning pop single with heavy tremolo-effected; 13th Disciple was tuneful, sexy and owed a debt (slight as it was) to the Stone Roses; Junk Male used clever guitar techniques with an alerting opening stanza: “If God were to ever come my way, I’d spit into his face. Then calmly walk away.”
Songs and Paintings was about how creativity couldn’t change the world: “Songs and paintings never brought a regime down. It cannot be fair.”
Bed (derived from Tara’s original title Between the Bed and the Clock) was surprisingly diverse, ranging from funkier numbers, to ballads and guitar-driven numbers.
The vinyl version which I have, and I imagine most fans would have bought at the time, contained 10 tracks, the CD added an earlier single, the supercharged Abstain and Catcher In the Rye, which was recorded while at school but sounding remarkably mature. All this is on the first disk alongside the four-tracks that made up the Air Conditioned Nightmare EP, released in 1990.
The second disk is the one I played first for obvious reasons. It contains eight B-sides, some of which, such as Out To Get In and Something’s Got To Give, could easily have fitted on the album or been singles in their own right. Come Together was a cover of the Beatles track.
A Radio One session, for DJ Mark Radcliffe, from 1990 was recorded on the same day as the infamous London Poll Tax riot, and while they were ensconced in a studio all day, it sounds as edgy as what was happening on the streets. They put down Abstain, Air Conditioned Nightmare, Judy Jones from the EP and Strange Kind of Urgency which would appear on Bed.
To cap it all are six demo tracks that have hitherto never been heard by more than a handful of people. I have to assume all were for the second album, provisionally entitled Another Fresh Corpse.
They’re all exceptional tracks, especially She’s Got It Bad, and Barbie Ferrari, the comical tale of a liberated young woman, “Emily Pankhurst died for Barbie Ferrari.”. Beseech Me was played live before the release of Bed, but didn’t make the final cut. It’s very energetic, but would have needed a little bit of polishing before going on record. Apple Something has single written all over it; When I’m Stoned has a touch of Hendrix about it, and the mini-set is completed by another strong track, Song of No Intention.
It would have made for a fascinating album. It’s never too late for an unreleased album to gain life. So, Tara, Paul and Phil, please get together, get in the studio and re-record that album. You know it makes sense.