Half chiming, half gazing at slight
overdrive; always fast, predominantly furious, sometimes self loathing,
sometimes celebratory, occasionally immersed in disappointment, but never losing
that sense of hopeful optimism, This Poison! unfortunately for the listeners are
only making a slight return to our airwaves. "Magazine" compiles the bands two
singles from their days on The Wedding Presents Reception Records, ('Engine
Failure' and the semi-legendary, instantly recognisable indie kid anthem 'Poised
Over The Pause Button'), and incorporates a wealth of unreleased material and
demo recordings. It's
a kind of 'Now That's What I Call 1986' for people who don't tolerate mainstream
pop pap. If your purchases in 1986 were of Phil Collins and Madonna then you may
as well stop reading now.
However, anyone who spent those teenage
years during the '80's patronising Peel, or (where I was) listening to 'On The
Wire' on B.B.C. Radio Lancashire (an unparalleled two hours of indie heaven
every Sunday afternoon) will not only recognise This Poison! as purveyors of
delicious, guitar driven indie pop, but they will also have an affinity with the
sentiments of 'Paused Over The Pause Button', those anxious moments waiting for
the next track to turn you upside down. I have boxes full of C-90's littered
with these moments, technology has moved on and the notepad and pencil and the
old ghetto blaster are no longer required in this dizzy world of online
streaming, file sharing and downloading, and for that I feel that the kids are
missing out, but with this re-issue the years are rolled back and we are back to
when pop meant pop. Ladies and Gentlemen, It's time to party like it's 1986.
There is a glorious rudiment to this
record, a feeling that was all too evident in the mid-eighties when the likes of
This Poison, Bob, The Membranes, The Heart Throbs, The Rainkings, The Waltones
et al were crafting intelligent, heartfelt pop sub-hits. I was fifteen in 1986
and I just thought that these bands were the norm, I thought that they would be
around forever. I was too naive to realise that they were part of a movement
that would one day blossom into a thriving sub-culture. I just went along to the
gigs, bought the records, hung the posters and taped the songs off the radio. I
just didn't' understand that one day, the songs that I loved would be virtually
impossible to get hold of, but that is what they became. So with this series of
re-issues Egg Records are finally putting some wonderful C-86 work on the map.
'Engine Failure' opens the record, a ninety
eight second rollercoaster ride of a song. Originally their first single it
immediately leaves you wanting more, maybe that was the plan? It sets the theme
perfectly, This Poison! are not about being over elaborate, they are the complete
anti-thesis of that early eighties incredulous over indulgence of the modern romantics. They
kicked against the scene and in doing such ended up sounding fresh and vital.
They did then and somehow they still do now.
'You Think' follows and then 'Poised Over
The Pause Button', any one of my age and musical persuasion will instantly
recognise the latter, even if you don't know that you know it, you will. It was
one of those ever presents in the indie/student discos of my youth. You'll know
it, love it and find its infectious pounding Argos drums and thrashing, chordal guitar riffing impossible to resist.
'I'm Not Asking' is a luscious love song
which could show Sir Elton and the likes a thing or two about song writing. How people don't
see the perfection in this is beyond me, This Poison! should be lauded as one of
the things that remained great in a decade that was in the main destined for the
dustbin. 'The Great Divide', 'Driving Skills' and 'Question Mark' all appeared
elsewhere on compilation albums, perhaps most notably 'Airspace' that feature
other song writing success stories as The Field Mice, Cud, The Close Lobsters
and The Groove Farm. A great band, in great company.
'Workout' (two versions of which are
included), 'Idoleyes' and 'St. Johnstoun' all show off a band in their element.
There doesn't appear to be any huffing and puffing of bloated egos, there is no
posturing and preening, just a good old guitar band throwing out great guitar
In all this is a composite collection that
scans well as an album in it's own right, and with the addition of demo versions
of 'Loose Kin' and 'Hampstead Heath' we glimpse a vision of what could have been
if things had been different and This Poison! had gone on to bigger things. They
are one of those bands who seem to have been around way before their time, if
they were teenagers putting these songs out today, then I find it hard not to believe
that they would be gracing our screens during the new Sunday evening T.O.T.P.
and Popworld. Maybe they were visionary, maybe they were the start of something
that grew into what is classed as big news today, maybe they spawned what we
hear on mainstream radio these days - but then again they might just have been too good too soon.
as Marty McFly says in 'Back To The Future' - "Maybe you're not quite ready for
that just yet".
If you like the old stuff, and you too have
those boxes of C-90's under the bed or in the attic, then you need to get this.
If you like the new stuff, then you need to know where it came from, you need to
get this. You need This Poison!
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