Album: Expecting to Fly, 1996
Justification: Everyone knows the Britpop a-list of Blur, Oasis and Pulp (and, arguably, Supergrass). Just about everyone remembers Suede, who seemed poised to lead the charge before mistepping badly, and how Elastica epitomised the early-promise-followed-by-smack-comedown trajectory. And if you’ve messed around on this blog you’ve probably encountered my spirited defences of the distinctly third-string likes of Sleeper and Gene and Lush.
But there’s one band I adored at the time who I so often forget, despite having been one of the most immediately successful bands of the time – a number one album, a number two single – and creating this glorious piece of jingle-jangle gorgeousness that epitomised everything that Britpop was about: a shuffling 60s sensibility, Smithsian chiming guitars, a smartarse title that evoked rock traditionalism – specifically, Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)’ – and the weirdly anonymous quality that every band of the time had. Seriously, shuffle these dudes with members of Marion, Thurman and any Charlatan that’s not Tim Burgess, and you’ve got a gaggle of nondescript 90s kids with shaggy bowl haircuts and an entirely Quadrophenia-derived notion of Mod.
That anonymity didn’t exactly serve them well when they came to release their (excellent) second album Return to the Last Chance Saloon in 1998, the last of their five albums that I can remember (although it turns out I own four of them). They were meant to tour Australia in 2010, but cancelled and then split up in 2011. So it can’t have been our fault.
They also get bonus points for calling a non-album single ‘Marblehead Johnson’, which is a reference to the music made by (genius comedian) Bill Hicks. All bands who reference Hicks get major props on principle.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2011: Ride seemed like they could do no wrong when they released ‘Leave Them All Behind’, little knowing all the wrong they were about to do.
AND HERE’S THE LAST FIVE…