Spirea Rising

Spirea X came my way again a few days ago, a welcome blast from the early 90s. Formed by Jim Beattie, a founding member Primal Scream, they promised to make records that would be better and bigger than the Scream’s but it didn’t really work out for them, despite having the benefit of being signed to 4AD. Their sole album- Fireblade Skies- has stood up fairly well. Spindly, psychedelic Rickenbackers, a mid-60s Stones on speed vibe but with 1991 shuffly drums. The single Chlorine Dream is one that should be on all those compilations of the lesser known groups from this time (along with Box Set Go by The High). Jim Beattie later formed Adventures In Stereo (who made similarly 60s influenced music but this time using samples and taking The Beach Boys as their starting point, not a million miles from Stereolab).

The album version is extended to over 6 minutes.

Chlorine Dream

The 60s groups were massive at the time, groups like Love and Buffalo Springfield. Their influence is all over Fireblade Skies. Album closer Spirea Rising is a fairly glorious instrumental, with swathes of Slowdive-style backing vocals and buckets of Glaswegian guitar noise.

Spirea Rising

4AD #2

Cut from a similar piece of cloth (dirty denim or suede, or leather maybe), and also on 4AD were Spirea X. Leader Jim Beattie had spent six years in Primal Scream and played guitar (12 string) on their early singles and the Sonic Flower Groove album. When he formed Spirea X, named after an early Primal Scream b-side, Jim declared Spirea X would do better than his former bandmates by ‘having better songs, better melodies, better arrangements, better everything’. He also claimed to be God at one point, before downgrading himself to Jesus. No shortage of ego then.

Chlorine Dream is a lovely piece of 60s indebted guitar pop (check the opening guitar lines) coupled with some early 90s backbeat and production. Another good single Speed Reaction followed and then an album, Fireblade Skies, which the press liked but sold little. I’ve not listened to the album for ages, but Chlorine Dream is on the mp3 player and always sounds good when it pops up. Obviously being on 4AD they had nice record sleeves, something not to be sniffed at.