Heavenly – “Space Manatee” 7”
K Records, 1996
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2010
Heavenly know how to get it right. Every single is a total joy. They’re like the clutch hitter who knows when to come through when the game is on the line. In my head, I just uttered the line “Heavenly are the Evan Gattis of twee pop.” I got baseball on my mind. The Royals are in the wild card race and have a legitimate shot of making the playoffs if they stay hot! This is new to me! I’m so used to my lovable losers being light years away from the playoffs in September, my fantasies are running wild. Granted, my fantasies involve the Royals getting that second wild card slot and losing in five games to whoever they would have to play, but still, it’s somethin’. Today I was thinking about how I like sports the wrong way. Whenever I have to talk to a real Man about sports, I feel like I’m doing it wrong. I care about stats and numbers and the beauty of Chris Davis’s swing and admire the real effort Eric Hosmer shows when he tries to run out an infield groundout. Most sports fans don’t really give a shit about this stuff, at least in my experience. I like sports like a sensitive loser in my own private little way. But back to Heavenly, who are pretty much the end all be all of indie pop in my book.
I love this band, and while indie pop gets an unfair rap for being frivolous or without substance (haters gonna hate, I spose), Heavenly served up some of the best singles of the 90s (or any decade for that matter). They didn’t get any radio play out side of college stations, but they totally won my heart with Amelia Fletcher’s wonderfully normal yet incredibly appealing vocals and the sort of pop hooks that makes you want to stop everything and sing along. They managed to be sweet without being cloying, which is the hardest line to walk in indie pop. “Space Manatee” is culled from their final full-length Operation Heavenly. It’s a brilliant little gem that’s maybe not as memorable as “Our Love is Heavenly” or “C is the Heavenly Option,” but it hits all the right buttons and adds a nice twist with a bass line that sort of pummels you through the intro and verse and makes the chorus all the more powerful once it comes crashing in. The b-side features covers of the Flamin’ Groovies’ “You Tore Me Down” and the Jam’s “Art School,” both of which are the sort of fun and enjoyable covers that are nice to find on the b-side (opposed to finding more tracks from the album which really, what’s the point?).