Talulah Gosh – Backwash
Acquired: K Records Mail Order, New, 2008
Good thing I got this when I did, because it's apparently gone out of print. And I got it for a steal too! $12 for 25 glorious twee pop songs (pretty much their complete discography) spread over two slabs of wax. Fronted by the amazing, wonderful, beautiful, incredible Amelia Fletcher, who went on to front one of my favorite bands, Heavenly, which also featured Talulah Gosh members Peter Momtchilloff and her brother, the late Matthew Fletcher, Talulah Gosh was everything that was good about music. They had fun and they didn't take it too seriously, a trait that tends to lead to some seriously good records. While “Beatnik Boy,” “Girl with the Strawberry Hair,” and “Do You Remember” are the most widely heard Talulah Gosh jams, my absolutely favorite is “Don't Go Away.” Backwash had been on my computer forever, and when it came time to do my indie-pop show for KJ, I started mining all the stuff I'd been collecting. Chris C. alerted me to the genius of “Don't Go Away,” and listening to it on the way to class for a month. It's perfect. It's a perfect fucking song. Just the TONE of that guitar at the beginning, and the way it provides the undercurrent of sad in the most upbeat song on the record is cause for loving alone. In its essence, it's punk rock for pussies, and I mean that in the most flattering way, because it's punk fucking rock. It's short, fast, and loud, but Fletcher also injects this bittersweetness to it and understand the classic structure of a pop song is to sing something sad and desperate but to trick everybody by making it incredibly upbeat and catchy. Of every song I've ever heard, I think “Don't Go Away” bears the most repeat value. It's the one I'm most prone to hit the back button on after it's over. It's the blend of these upbeat perfect pop songs and the more maudlin numbers that make Backwash an incredible twee pop document. It's the best of the genre with one band. God, there are just so many hits on this record. Or songs that should have been hits, if girly pop bands from the 80s ever had their day. “I Can't Get No Satisfaction (Thank God),” aside from having one of the best song titles ever AND being covered by fellow K-ompatriots the Softies, is fucking genius. The guitar solo in there is so fucking perfect, and I've never noticed it til now. I've always been distracted by the call and response of the verse. And “My World's Ending,” how could I have forgotten about that song! My second favorite song on the record. Much like “Don't Go Away” it's a quick blast of “Please don't leave me,” which is often what inspires the best twee pop. Honestly, I think this is what I wanted the Kite Tails to be like, but Danny and Jen didn't want to play this fast. We had the sweet riffs and everything, but it was all kind of half speed. So I'll dream of having an upbeat twee pop band with sick riffs and someday, if I ever put my mind to it, I will be able to PLAY those riffs instead of farming them out to people with actual talent. This record is a gem, and one of those forgotten classics that will hopefully have some sort of resurgence very soon because GODDAMNIT THESE SONGS ARE SO FUCKING GOOD!
Also, CUTE REUNION!