Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Close Lobsters - Firestation Towers 1986-1989
Every long-time music fan has a list of bands that should have been better known, and given my focus on lesser known bands my list grows longer every year. But near the top of my list is Paisley, Scotland's Close Lobsters. The band often is associated with the C86 bands because they were included in the seminal compilation. But like the Wolfhounds, they were playing in a different playground. Yes, the guitars jangled. But they, and the choruses, also soared to the rafters and were sturdy enough, and at times demanded, the sort of volume that one expects with indie rock and college rock outfits. The rhythm section had more heft and bounce than the average C86 output. And then there were the lyrics -- consistently intelligent and well constructed. Moreover, unlike The Smiths, who gathered a larger fan base in the jangling end of the spectrum, Close Lobsters' lyrical content wasn't focused on sharing the band's tears or causing you to shed some of your own. In my view, in the late '80s they were the perfect guitar band for intelligent, well adjusted fans, which of course describes me down to my last button.
Formed in 1985 with Andrew Burnett (vocals), his brother Robert (bass), Tom Donnelly (guitar), Graeme Wilmington (guitar), and Stewart McFayden (drums). "Firestation Towers" landed on the C86 comp, and Fire Records released the band's first single. During their first active period as a band Close Lobsters released two albums -- Headache Rhetoric and Foxheads Stalk This Land -- and a number of singles. Fire Records has assembled both LPs and the singles, b-sides and rarities, which previously were available on Forever, Until Victory! The Singles Collection, as a three-CD box set titled Firestation Towers 1986-1989. There probably are other arguments for obtaining this set, but the most important one is that this is really terrific guitar pop, with no weak songs, and you'll want to listen to it until you no longer have working ears. If my desert island list is allowed to have box sets, this one is on it.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Close Lobsters never broke up. They did take an extended hiatus, but returned last year with an excellent single for Shelflife Records, and I believe they are working on more new material. That makes me a happy man, indeed. But until the new songs are available, I need Firestation Towers 1986-1989 in my life.
Fire Records page for release
Bandcamp for release