21.6.12

TH' FAITH HEALERS : Pop Song EP (Too Pure, 1990)

FH1
FH2
Also-rans, I suppose... but Th' Faith Healers put out some cracking records in their time - churning, dog-eared post-shoegaze aggro-indie that, along with Loop & Stereolab, anticipated the current, ongoing vogue for Krautrock-indebted kosmiche chug by several years. TFH grappled with Soundtracks' "Mother Sky" as far back as 1992 - pre-dating Julian Cope's benchmark Krautrocksampler tome - not bad for a bunch of crumpled itinerants in baggy jumble sale jumpers, eh? Loop, of course, covered Can's magnum opus even earlier, on 1988's Black Sun EP - though their attempt is. characteristically, a far more academic affair, a sleek 2nd hand DeLorean compared to TFH's junkyard Vauxhall Viva. That said, though the former is an obsessively detailed recreation of the original, TFH's discordant, breakneck reinterpretation is much more fun.

Practitioners of the sadly forgotten Camden Lurch, & regulars at The White Horse's legendarily rowdy Sausage Machine club night, Th' Faith Healers ever-changing line-up revolved around singing guitarist Tom Cullinan (who'd go on to form Quickspace Supersport following TFH's demise) &, scruffy queen of catharsis, vocalist Roxanne Stephen. Initially signed to London's Too Pure label, along with the aforementioned 'Lab & an emerging P.J. Harvey, all 3 bands - in an unprecedented instance of American good faith in the English independent scene - would eventually acquire major label deals in the U.S. (Polly with Island, the other 2 with Elektra). Incidentally, it's a little known fact that Too Pure almost didn't release Polly's auspicious debut, Dry - faced with a crippling cash flow crisis, the label turned to 4AD's Ivo Watts-Russell, who stepped in & bailed them out at the last minute. When Too Pure ceased general trading in 2008, downsizing into a monthly subscription-only singles club, their roster was quietly assimilated into 4AD's.

The Pop Song 12", Th' Faith Healers unpolished 1990 debut, has always been my favourite of their many records, though none of them are clunkers (the band having had the common decency to split before things got predictable). In a stroke of non-fiscal lo-fi genius, they promoted the EP's release with a bespoke beermat. Beat that, hipsters.

6 comments:

  1. Spent some time trying to remember who was after a copy of the first SCOTS LP then noticed your post on AIW. Drop me your mailing address via the blog (respond to a message and I'll not approve it) and I'll send you the CD copy I've just found upstairs. I would put it on the blog but I have to stick to my strict no CDs policy. I did have the Zontar 7" but it's gorn. Oh, and can you delete this when you've see it (if your blog allows unmoderated posting. If not, just don't publish it). Cheers!

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  2. Wow, terrific! I'll email you right fuckin' N.O.W. sir!

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  3. michael4.8.12

    Also-rans, well hold on there I saw the live 2 or 3 years ago in Barcelona, and they were ace, it was not a going through the numbers set but a great who gives a damn let's enjoy ourselves gig that both band and public got off on.Also-run..... no more of a marathon band.

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  4. By "also rans" I guess mean "underdogs" - a well-drilled & inventive band who never quite got their due, probably because they didn't look "right". Tellingly, their records still sound good 20 years later, which is always a good sign!

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  5. Just took a photo of the White Horse on FB page, the lurch from the Falcon, where the head Faith Healee ran the bar to there are my heady memories of the mid-late 80's and parties at the nascent Rockingbirds HQ at 30 Camden Road, ah them's the days, all going into one of them novel type things everyones supposed to have at this moment

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  6. Novel in the works, eh? Feel free to keep me posted...

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