Sunday, November 06, 2005

remember Arthur Seaton says he won't be beaten

The world of The Pale Fountains is a world of wide screen romance. It's a world where Bacharach and David tunes play on the radio and kitchen sink dramas are played out in soft focus....all the work of a bunch of Scousers. This is, of course, not everybody's cup of tea but I'm as smitten with them now as I was as a teenage romantic. Emerging from the post-punk scene with anything but grey overcoats on their agenda, they only ever released two albums but if you are of the Roddy Frame/Edwyn Collins perfect pop mindset they should be essential purchases. After a single on Les Disques du Crepuscule (surely the most pretentious label name...ever!) they signed to Virgin where the pressure to have a hit single destroyed the band.

The first album 'Pacific Street' is, in terms of production, a bit of a mess...a case of too many ideas. The songs are great though and their trademark strumming acoustic 12 string and ba bA BAAAH brass sound is all there. 'Start a War' is The Paleys distilled and summarised.

The Pale Fountains- 'You'll Start A War'

Album no.2 '...From across the Kitchen Table' is a rockier record, it's a bit more focused. Songwriter, Michael Head is joined by guitarist brother John who plays brilliantly squally lines over simple chord progressions. The fact that even I can strum Pale Fountains tunes on guitar has always made them appealing. This is a gutsy, passionate record with its heart way out on its sleeve...perhaps a reason they couldn't get the hits Virgin needed.

The Pale Fountains- ...From across the Kitchen table

Mick and John Head are still out there as the brilliant 'Shack' who break cover from their Mersey paradise from time to time to be lauded as legendary only to disappear again...perhaps they prefer it like that.

To witness scousers argue over who knew The Paleys best (it's a good board actually) visit Shacknet

Buy 'Pacific Street' and 'From across the Kitchen Table' here

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