Insides/ The Glee Club
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
I don’t think I’d ever heard the real 4AD until I listened to Cocteau Twins for the very first time earlier this year. Strange how certain things elude you. The world of music is a vast, vast, vast place. And the true world of 4AD is a dark, gothy place. And then it cracked itself open to reveal the Breeders, the Pixies, Red House Painters, Unrest, and TV on the Radio. Maybe Dead Can Dance are the only real gothy band, but Insides definitely have some of that forlorn gloom woven into their ambient, trip-hop influenced dream pop. Dream Pop! That’s the word I’m looking for! 4AD were purveyors of dream pop! And now dream pop is a genre tag that gets bandied about every which way and it’s like “No! Go listen to this 4AD stuff that sounds like it exists somewhere between the half awake world and dreams!” The Insides track “Walking in Straight Lines” is pure hypnosis. Kirsty Yates vocals recall Bjork, but that is more about her delivery (Bjork’s aptly titled solo debut Debut was released in 1993 too so maybe that ethereal thing was all the rage in the early nineties. Still, Bjork had been tearing it up with the Sugarcubes since 1986 so I’m gonna say Yates is a little Bjork-y and not the other way around) than her actual voice which is more pedestrian than the Icelandic diva’s (not a bad thing, not meant to be backhanded, it’s just you know, wait, how did this whole entry end up being about Bjork?). “Walking in Straight Lines” is very clearly carbon dated to the early 90s and I’m wondering when young bands are gonna start ripping off this sound. The Glee Club turn out a nice blend of dreamy pop and Breeders-esque indie rock and their contribution to this split—“Bad Child’s Dolly”—is easily my favorite side. The Irish group only made one full album, but based on the strength of this song I’m dying to hear it. Joanne Loughman’s vocals are absolutely towering. The verses are deceptively plain, more akin to Sarah Records twee pop than the wonderfully haughty dreamy ethereal shit 4AD was built on, but then the chorus kicks in and she just knocks you out with this really wonderful, throaty delivery that displays a surprising amount of range. Jenny asked if I was listening to Kate Bush, and that’s about as apt as a comparison as there is. It’s an interesting track. The verses feature a repetitive electric guitar line (and a saxophone later on that become more and more dissonant as the verses continue) but the choruses have this big, effects-addled acoustic guitar that pairs with Loughman’s delivery remarkably well. The track morphs into a cacophonous blend of everything that has been slowly added over the duration and I’m left sitting here very impressed. It snuck up on me. Some random 7”, purchased randomly, packing a song I’ve listened to ten times this morning and found something new to like about it each time.
Insides - "Walking in Straight Lines"
The Glee Club - "Bad Child's Dolly"