Friday, June 03, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 227: Inspiral Carpets - Revenge of the Goldfish

By: March

Album – Revenge of the Goldfish
Artist – Inspiral Carpets
Key Players – Craig Gill – drums. Martyn Walsh – bass. Graham Lambert – guitar. Clint Boon – keyboards,backing vocals. Tom Hingley – vocals
Produced By – Pascal Gabriel

Release Date – October 5, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I can't tell you the last time I even really thought to put on an Inspiral Carpets CD. I can't even ever really say I was all that in to them. MTV's 120 Minutes played “This is How it Feels” and I dug that track. Looking forward to checking out this disc for the first time in ages.

Overview – This is the third full length studio album from Oldham, England based band “Inspiral Carpets”. Formed in 1983 and named after a clothing shop in their home town the band would become part of the “Madchester” scene blending psychedelic and indie rock. They'd become a charting act in their homeland as well a few countries around the world. They'd release a followup to this record, then a singles collection before being dropped by their label. The band would only have three songs crack the UK singles chart higher than 20, with the highest being 12.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Boon is all over the keyboards at the start of “Generations” before Hingley comes up on vocals. The drums from Gill are really at the front and Boon offers some great harmonies. Walsh and Lambert are present, but we don't really hear this as a guitar and bass track. The vocals get compressed in the later verses and there are some call and response vocals but Boon keeps the track moving forward. At the start of “Saviour” we hear a lot more of the guitar from Lambert. The song is a quick romp more of bass and drum flair, there are still keyboards but the band is locked in. As the second verse progresses there is a lot more from Boon on keyboards giving a real keyboard punch. On the track “Bitches Brew” Walsh is the lone instrument at the start. Lambert comes in and plays off a piano bed from Boon. The track is a little more melodic and laid back that the prior track but you can hear a lot more of Hingley's vocal style and range. The song does get a little more rowdy but Lambert is quick to use his guitar to wrangle everyone back in check. “Smoking Her Clothes” is what you'd associate immediately to the “Madchester” sound. The keyboards just radiate and the bass guitars and drum all come together. Hingley is focused and on mark and the band seems to erupt at the chorus and the backing vocals are very strong. The band changes to a down tempo but it is only for a moment before the comes back to its fun vibe. A very strong track. Walsh is all over his bass at the start of “Fire” before Boon joins in. Gill clicks off the drums and the full band comes in. The pace is once again quick and the band seems focused and on point. Gill has a vendetta on his hi-hat and seems to hit it and rumble across his drum kit while Walsh and Lambert hammer on their strings. “Here Comes the Flood” finds Lambert on acoustic guitars and per the norm, the band seems right on task. There is no real “flash” on the song, it is pretty much a straight up rock tune. The band seems to find an extended jam at the end which is about the lone thing that really has this track stand out from others. “Dragging Me Down” has the great keyboard sound from Boon. Lambert has a guitar buzz/chime hybrid thing going on and Gill lays the track in motion. The call and response vocals at the chorus are great, and the band seems to really have a lot of fun on the track. “A Little Disappeared” is slow to open with Walsh chugging across the bass before Gill and Boon come in. The track is sung and played at a frantic pace. Gill is not flashy on the drums but he works the kit pretty well hitting them hard and having Boon do a series of runs on the keyboards over it all. The track “Two Worlds Collide” only track to crack US radio and it peaked at #8 on the US Modern Rock chart, is next. Based off the “sound” it seems like an odd choice to release to radio based of the time and the genere. The chorus is great, but the keyboards that drive the record are missing. The “Madchester” sounds you can hear in the guitar and the vocal delivery though. The crunchy guitar is back at the start of “Mystery” and Gill is all over his drum kit once more. The band locks in and takes off. Another track where the band is musically and lyrically frantic, this song moves. Lambert is alone on guitar as “Rain Song” starts and remains the lone instrument as Hingley begins to sing. It stays like this for the verse, then the band joins in, but it keeps a mellow vibe. The album concludes with “Irresistible Force”, a track that finds Lambert getting a little funky on his guitar and letting Gill and Boon join in. Hingley is distorted again on the vocals and the song has a quick tempo. A strong album closer.

Where are they now? - The band broke up in 1995 and then re-formed in 2003. They are listed as still being “active”. They have played very sporadic live dates but haven't been active (even with their web site) since 2009. The “active” band remains the same as the line up for the record reviewed here. The band has done various side projects. Two of the roadies for the band have gone on to success; one time van driver Mark Collins joined the Charlatans in 1991 and a guitar tech, named Noel Gallagher joined some band called “Oasis”.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take – In the end I have to admit that a fair amount of this record is forgettable. Sure there are some gems, and listening reminds me of a very exciting time in music for me personally. I don't mean to slag off the band by any means and I am in no rush to “sell their cds back” it is just if I think of this “scene” I think of other bands for better or worse. If you come upon a singles collection, grab it though.

Official Site is here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Two Worlds Collide
Smoking Her Clothes

The album is out of print, but you can track it down easy enough starting here.


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