If Liverpool is known for producing bands with the ability to produce exquisite music whilst not taking themselves too seriously from The Beatles to The Coral then Big Tide’s first single from the forthcoming Sync or Swim (you see what they did there?) album is the perfect continuation of that tradition. Musically it fits on to a timeline of influence that runs from the original Byrdsian jangle pop through the bands who reinvented it on the west coast in the 80’s as the Paisley Underground scene, their English contemporaries such as The Icicle Works and on to more recent champions of the sound such as Guided by Voices.
The remit of this site is to draw attention to new, slightly off of the radar music, but that doesn’t mean we just pander to the latest bunch of boybanders with complicated hair or skinny jeaned indie kids so earnestly wanting to be The Smiths. Sometimes it’s about old friends returning to the fray. After twenty years away from the musical spotlight, Phil Wilson returned in 2008 with a clutch of singles and excellent reviews for the God Bless Jim Kennedy album. The next step whether planned or not, in hindsight seemed quite obvious and The June Brides were back with new material.
The title track forms the centrepiece of this 7” EP, neatly capturing their intentionally rough-edged; some might say ramshackle (when compared to the slick studio techniques we use to varnish to death modern music) trademark sound. The guitars jangle, bass lines pop and groove and a mute trumpet riffs through the spaces and suddenly it is 1984 all over again. Well, one corner of it anyway. The charts are offering cringe-worthy dross such as Lionel Ritchie’s Hello, the world is being fought over by the acolytes of Iron Maiden and Michael Jackson and by the end of the year everyone and I mean everyone will “know it’s Christmas.” The only thing keeping discerning music fans sane is the likes of The Icicle Works, The Raincoats, The Smiths and The June Brides.
Opening salvo, “Being There” is the other Wilson track on the EP, another that simultaneously references their eighties heyday whilst striding confidently into a bright and beckoning future (should they chose to pursue it.) Guitarist Simon Beesley rounds things off with I’m Undone, a skittering, sometimes chiming, sometimes crunchy guitar hemmed in by sublime bass below and soaring and stabbing trumpet above.
To the younger listener, it may be just a bunch of great songs but to those of a certain age it is a time travel machine, a flag planted in the current slough of musical despond, a wistful and intelligent take on pop and welcome return to old friends all wrapped up into one great release. Yes it’s great. Of course it’s great, it’s The June Brides.