As The Day Begins

Briefly in 1990 The Beloved made some very good music, perfectly in tune with the times- a run of singles, the 1990 album Happiness and its remixed counterpart from a year later Blissed Out and the not-a-hit It’s Alright Now single. This Melody Maker front cover is dated 27th January 1990 and shows where the inkies were at that point- Loop, Carter USM, Baby Ford and The Shamen show the twin pleasures of noisy guitars and the dancefloor while The Cult, Mantronix and Psychic TV bring the mid 80s back. Tanita Tikaram was available for interview twenty seven years ago too.

The Sun Rising is a fast paced, slinky groove with that female vocal sample that Orbital also used (on Belfast). Music made from optimism with a sense of endless possibilities.

The Sun Rising

I chanced upon this NME cutting yesterday too, a review of The Beloved playing the Hacienda (5th March 1990 I think, according to some internet research), supported by local heroes The High and a dj called Andrew Weatherall. I may get around to posting something by him sooner or later.

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Hold On There She Goes

Some more archive footage from two decades plus ago and another Manchester group. I watched this on ITV in the summer of 1990 and taped it on a VHS cassette that I always had on standby near the telly for music clips. I built up a small collection of compilation videos that got thrown away at some point. Now most of it’s on Youtube. In July 1990 a bunch of Manchester bands played at Granada Studios- Intastella, The New FADs, The Charlatans and The High. I’ve written about The High before. They released a minor classic album called Somewhere Soon which had some really good songs and three superb singles in Box Set Go, Up and Down and Take Your Time. The album’s follow up single was another cracker (More…). After that, for a number of reasons, it fell to pieces but for a while they were very good. In the clip here, which I can remember vividly from my homemade videotape, they play Box Set Go and PWA in one of the sound stages at the old Granada Studios building.

Singer John Matthews and guitarist Andy Couzens have recently reformed and played a few gigs. The released a new single (Kiss The Sun) but annoyingly I can’t find a stream of it to post.

Take Your Time

Up And Down

There are some teasers and rumours on the internet that The High are about to reform for a tour. The High were a late 80s Manchester band, including ex-Stone Rose Andy Couzens on guitar, who had a couple of minor indie hits and NME Singles of the Week (Box Set Go, Up And Down, classics of their time both), a decent album (Somewhere Soon), and a belting post album single (More…), which got them busted for chart rigging. I saw them live twice, both times they were good. Singer John Matthews became ill they made an ill-advised grunge influenced second album that no-one bought. The end. Until now- apparently there’s going to be an announcement today. Like Drew, I often think that re-unions and comebacks are a bad idea. But then I often end up overcoming my cynicism, go along and have a good time.

Up And Down

More Than This

The High’s 1991 single More… is only really remembered because the band’s management were busted buying multiple copies from chart return shops to boost it up the charts. Which is a shame because it’s a really good post-Manchester single, less Madchester and more chiming guitars. It’s easily as good as the best songs from their underrated Somewhere Soon album and should have been a signpost of where they were going rather than the full stop it turned out to be.

More

Take Your Time And Take It Slow

Having had two of the second wave of Madchester bands here at Bagging Area in the last week I thought we’d go for a Mcr also-rans hat-trick. The High were made up of two former Stone Roses, guitarist Andy Couzens and drummer Chris Goodwin, with bassist Simon Davies and singer John Matthews. They released an album in 1990, Somewhere Soon, which is a footnote in that period but has a small army of devotees, including me. I’ve just listened to it in full for the first time in a few years. It’s very of it’s time, and the vocals and guitars do recall The Roses although they manage to avoid that funky backbeat that dates a lot of records from this point, but it’s hard to argue with the quality of half the songs on it- Box Set Go, Somewhere Soon, PWA, the lovely Up And Down, and this one Take Your Time. They followed it with a catchy single, the equally good More…, but the band, the management or the record company were caught rigging the charts and things fell apart. A few years later they followed it with an ill advised second album (Hype), which saw them go rawk, and not in a good way. Listening to it tonight parts of Somewhere Soon transported me back, and I could vividly remember circumstances of playing this song or others on the album, and seeing them live- ‘highly derivitive’ was the summary of them by someone I went with, but they played these songs well. This is isn’t nostalgia for a fresh faced twenty year old version of me, sat in a rented room, playing the 7″ of this song bought from Woolworths, my whole life in front of me. This is just a good song by a long forgotten band.

The High – 02 – Take Your Time.mp3

The High ‘Box Set Go’

Something reminded me of this song recently, can’t remember what, but I listened to it again and enjoyed it. The Manchester scene (I hate the Madchester word, and baggy’s even worse) was good fun and felt pretty exciting at the time, even if the records havn’t added up to much in the long term. Aside from the obvious (Roses and Mondays), most of the bands managed a couple of good songs but couldn’t sustain it. Don’t know if Northside count in that or not. On the plus side it was surely the last time British bands were inspired equally by white guitar music and black dance music, and used those influences to came up with something else. They were forward looking generally, not totally retro and revivalist (like Britpop, and the post-Strokes bands).

This band featured Andy Couzens (elbowed out of The Roses), and produced some sparkling guitar pop- this song, also Up And Down, Take Your Time, and a pretty good debut album. Box Set Go was also one of the last Martin Hannett production jobs before his death. After the album they lost their way. The singer John Matthews suffered a drug induced breakdown, and the lovely follow up single (More…) got them into trouble for chart rigging. This is all from memory, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. London Records dropped them in 1993 after a disastrous second album. This, though, still sounds good.

box_set_go.mp3