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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Paris Angels March 3, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Okay, it was Flowered Up a few weeks ago. And perhaps two groups from the Madchester/baggy stable in such a short space of time is a bit much – but EamonnCork’s comment on that post reminded me of the other group that got away, that of all the Madchester outfits was the one that should have been truly successful. Paris Angels had strong songs, strong vocals and an innovative sound. And yet… although they produced a series of singles and EPs and one fine album, Sundew … that was that.

Their sound was a mix of guitar/bass/drums and electronica, one part New Order-like, one part Happy Mondays, one part rave and one part all their own, due not least to Jayne Gill’s vocals which lift their output from generic baggy/Madchester indie to something with a foot in pop and further afield. The flourishes of sequenced keyboards here and there as well as horns makes this sound a compelling hybrid of post punk and rave. An odd, and even unlikely combination, but one that across their output works surprisingly well. I’ve read comments about them that they were a band who knew their music. And that certainly comes through loud and clear on Sundew. It’s an extraordinarily confident and diverse album.

Their greatest moment? Well, perhaps “Perfume (All on You)” which sounds like a not too distant relation of “Blue Monday”, not least because of the male vocal. But it’s not a copy, not least because the bass guitar doesn’t attempt to replicate Peter Hook’s approach and because of the way in which Gill’s vocals weave through it accentuating and enhancing its melodic qualities.

But then again is “Perfume” better than “Fade”, or “Slippery Man” the latter of which morphs from Monday’s like exuberance into something not dissimilar to P-Funk, or indeed ‘Eternity’ which has a Charlatans-like enthusiasm. And that post punk/rave hybrid? Listen to “I Understand” on the ‘Oh Yes’ EP. It’s all there. Indeed some of their sound, “Fence” on the ‘Fade’ EP is a particularly good example, seems to pre-empt the sort of material that Black Grape would be producing only a short few years later. There’s a good reason for that. Paul ‘Wags’ Wagstaff would go on to play with that band, and later the Happy Mondays. Sadly the drummer Simon Worrall died last year.

Perhaps they were becalmed by baggy – like so many of the groups at that time simply too much part of it, too closely identified with it, to be able to break free of it when, as was inevitable, it went into decline. They broke up after Virgin dropped them and Gill became pregnant. But that overly rapid ending overshadows the fact that they really were a group which deserved so much more.

Perfume

Fade

Eternity

I Understand

Oh Yes

Comments»

1. duroc - August 4, 2013

New Paris Angels single – out now on itunes etc – from unreleased 2nd lp Eclipse which is out on Stereokill records later this year.

Cheers x

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WorldbyStorm - August 4, 2013

Thanks duroc. That’s great news.

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