Monday, 11 June 2012

This is new electric pop and soul


When I was in my twenties – Paul – my brother and Ian – our bassist – and of course friend – used to fantasize about seeing the return of Brian Wilson. Not the Eugene Landy version – although we thought the ‘Brian Wilson’ album was sublime in places – it was just the digital production that was letting us down. That momemt when the keyboard sounds over enhanced or the reverb is too crisp and lacks the warmth [of the sun] we had become accustomed to from repeated listens to Today and Summer Days Summer Nights. 

No we collectively channeled our desire into seeing the real Brian ‘back’. Our late night haze creating the set lists that Brian would sing as Mike Love took a kicking from all of us for stepping on Brian’s [vocal] chords for all those years.  We never thought it would happen though – much like hearing Smile – it was the stuff of dreams.

Those holy grails of pop.

Yes we had bought the Smile t-shirt from Pet Sounds in Newcastle – postal orders duly sent off – we had the artwork – just not the tunes. Well not the real finished item. Somehow we had acquired tapes and bits and pieces of unfinished teenage symphonies to God – mainly from Duglas from the BMX Bandits – a lovely listener and unselfish sharer of sounds all the way from Scotland on handwritten C90 cassettes. He made bleak days in steeltowns somehow seem sunny.

But it happened. Paul and I – unfortunately not with Ian – it should have been with Ian – but he wasn’t ‘on the scene’ then. First witnessing the beauty of Pet Sounds in fourth row seats in a Nottingham hall to finally shaking Van Dyke Parks hand as Smile was aired for the first time in London. And we were there. Witnessing that Brian was well and truly ‘back’.

So Smile was dutifully bought and loved beyond reason. I guess it wasn’t the real Smile – but it was a Smile made with love and [mercy] and affection – it felt like it belonged to Brian and therefore it mattered to us. It wasn’t 67 but it was still breathtaking and ‘out there’.

Blew my mind – phew – with all its good vibrations.

And this got me thinking to all those lost gems – those mythical musical monsters that we’ve heard excerpts and snippets from. Records like the legendary third My Bloody Valentine album – although to be honest they have released four albums but Berlin squalls and Lazy simplicity don’t seem to count in that story. It’s the Creation years – the big bankrupt stories – the perfection and re-re-re-recording of guitars and bends. And now it looks like it will eventually see the light of day – somewhere in Shields sonic schedule we’ll get to final bathe in the bliss of blended guitars and claustrophobic beats.


Then there’s the maverick Maver’s and that second La’s long player – but even with sprinkles of sixties dust on monitors and mixers has yet to be finished. You can find bits and pieces – scattered over limited CD releases and bootleg files that do the rounds on the internet. But it isn’t the album we were meant to – going to hear – it certainly isn’t the record that Lee wants to hear – otherwise it would be here. Now.

But the one that keeps me up at night and would have kept Paul, Ian and me up all night is mention of World of Twist’s second album. The Twist were a wonderful Manchester band of real entertainers and dreamers. They were the future of rock n roll – an acid Manc MC5. Looking forward with an eye on the past. All of that and so much more.

Genuine pop potential. They never made it big. Their first album ‘Quality Street’ is a treat. Popping and fizzing with shock and awe all over its tracks. Except it sounds shit. No bottom end – all treble and no amps turned to 10. They made up for it live though – you forgave everything when they performed. They had it. Simple as that. So even though I often play Quality Street and I’ve written about the Twist before – I stumbled over something at the weekend that blew my mind again.

When Tony Ogden – the lead singer of World of Twist died I was gutted. Paul as ever had tracked down his recent excursions into the studio – most likely situated in his bedroom – and purchased Escape from the Love Machines by placing a tenner in his hand – a tenner that most likely went on hedonism and good times. And I thought there was that returning beauty in songs like Honey and then he goes and dies. Dead. No more tunes. Over. Obituaries written and mention of a second glorious World of Twist album, John Robb rubbing it in that it lived up to all those expectations we had – a Manchester ‘Smile’.

So another trawl through the internet – a hopeful google search and a set of redundant returns. Hoping that one day someone – perhaps the Adge would just put it out there – not looking for a return. And so to Soundcloud – I was looking for something else  - that’s sure fine looking man – something like a Carl Craig mix when a fleeting unguarded moment meant I’d typed the twist into the search facility.

And there it was. Nine tracks – mostly instrumental – but nine tracks of new World of Twist material. Nine new ones. I immediately rang my brother. I asked him to record it – he has his ways and means. I was shaking when I said what I’d found. It’s 2012 and I found the fucking Twist. This was the culmination of what the internet was invented for – that and shifting your old Adam Ant badges [but that’s another story about how I invented social networking and ebay before other people’s minds caught up]

I know it’s not in its final mix and they’ll be no unveiling at the Royal Festival Hall – but this one chimes right up there with sitting and hearing Smile played in it’s entirety by Wilson and friends. It is simply the World of Twist making music that begins to hint at how it should have sounded. It’s an Indiana Jones moment when you chose the right grail – it’s Tony and friends making pop music.

It is as simple as that. I will not describe it. You’ll either get it or you won’t.

There are some things that should never be lost to the masses.  There is no youtube link – this is a soundcloud file.

Play it and listen to it all.