Tuesday, May 08, 2007

you can't meet the duke, are you crazy??!

As I mentioned last time, Colourbox (brothers Martyn and Steve Young) were one half of the equation that resulted in M|A|R|R|S and Pump Up The Volume. Prior to that they were the pop-jokers in the 4AD Vaughan-Oliver-designed pack, releasing cut-and-paste tracks with big beats alongside sweet reggae-tinged pop. Here are a few of my favourite tracks of theirs, which have been in heavy rotation since my alphabetically-themed post popped them into my head the other day.

Colourbox - Baby I Love You So (12")

Lovely big slab of dub with the gorgeous vocals of Lorita Grahame floating over the top as the boys monkey about with a big box of tricks - check the massive echo dropped in at various points throughout the track.

In a way, they were the perfect band for me during my tape-compilation-making days in the late 80s. Like me, they were obsessed with bad dialogue from obscure films - John Carpenter's Escape From New York (and the mighty Snake Plisskin!) above ...

Colourbox - Hot Doggie

... and Herschell Gordon Lewis' Two Thousand Maniacs! here. This was from 1987s Lonely Is An Eyesore compilation, a decent-ish compilation marred by the worst sleeve notes this side of Zang Tumb Tuum.

With the 80s liberally dripping down the walls, this is another side of the Colourbox sound - big slabs of guitar, huge beatboxes and gleefuly pilfered sounds from a land before anti-sampling legislation. And before samplers - the Young brothers used quarter-inch tape and delay units to build up these tracks.

Colourbox - The Moon Is Blue

The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme gets all the props, but this is my absolute favourite Colourbox song, a camp and wonky big-band torch song to scream from the rooftops. To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel, "How much more 80's could it be?... And the answer is, 'none'... 'none more 80s'".

I remember that Tom Hibbert named this track Single Of The Fortnight in Smash Hits back in the day! Why would I remember that when I can never find my keys? Whatever, this song is bloody great, and did precisely nothing when it was released.

Apparently, years of public indifference coupled with the legal problems they had immediately following Pump Up The Volume's success are the reasons Colourbox never recorded again. Boo.

Visit - Colourbox at 4AD
Buy - Colourbox (1986) - features 'The Moon Is Blue'
Buy - The Best of Colourbox - features the other two tracks

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