Misheard Love Songs
Firestation Records LP & CD
Here it is, my new blog and the very first post! The music gods have in a way dictated what this piece will be about. A new album by a band that has been off my radar for several years and was a big part of my musical awakening, it was obvious. So step forward Brummie indie band ‘Mighty Mighty’, I have things to reminisce about.
The year was 1986 and my musical tastes were pretty basic, a bit of Madness here and Madonna there, but nothing had really hooked me. I had started reading UK music paper the NME, the allure of the leftfield was starting to pique my interest. I spotted an advertisement for the NME’s latest appraisal of what was happening in the music scene, a nondescript looking audio tape called C86. Remember there was no digital, Spotify or Amazon at this time so I had to wait for the tape to arrive in the post! But it was truly worth the wait, a new world was about to open up. Indie guitar music was about to jangle its way into my life.
The C86 track listing contained some weird sounding band names, The Close Lobsters, The Bodines, Primal Scream and Mighty Mighty amongst many. The guitar driven jangly sound immediately clicked with me though. It was music made for me, by young guys who looked like me, with the same attitudes and lifestyles. The songs were about love and loss, tailor made for an introverted 17 year old. I wasn’t alone though, the album apparently created a stir in bedrooms up and down the country. Although for someone whose world revolved around my 12ft x 12ft room I didn’t appreciate it at the time!
It’s hard to articulate how a humble tape changed my life, it opened up a new world of music, new friends, new loves and a new life. Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley summed up the C86 effect nicely.
“C86 was the beginning of indie music… It’s hard to remember how underground guitar music and fanzines were in the mid-’80s; DIY ethics and any residual punk attitudes were in isolated pockets around the country and the C86 comp and gigs brought them together in an explosion of new groups.”
The Invention of Love
Back to reality and we have one of my favourite indie bands of the time, Mighty Mighty, returning with a new album called ‘Misheard Love Songs’. I must admit to some trepidation here, history is littered with bad comeback albums.
The first song I hear is ‘The Invention of Love’ and thank the gods its bloody good. Vocalist Hugh McGuinness sounds the same after all these years which is very comforting. Like all of us from the C86 generation he may have aged a bit and put on a few pounds, but his distinctive voice has not changed and I am transported back to my bedroom in Putney.
The advance in years is also reflected in the lyrics, this album is a lament to lost love and jaded relationships rather than the excitement of young love. Take Valentine’s Day, this is certainly not a song about the first flush of love, with lyrics like “anything I say will seem hollow to you” and “all the words to say I love you have been frittered away”, you get the picture.
Misheard Love Songs
So what do I think of the album? It’s certainly more mature in sound and is different from the higher tempo Mighty Mighty sound I know and love. But that is not surprising, you are going to get a more introspective sound when you hit your 40s and 50s, life changes and moves on. Highlights are definitely The Invention of Love, The Profit and Loss Blues and a little throwback of fuzziness in Stupid Little Things. I would advise you to check it out if you are a C86 child or just love a bit of quality indie. Next stage of my Mighty Mighty renewal is to check out one of their upcoming gigs, a trip to Birmingham in October is required I think.
The album is available on LP and CD from Firestation Records. They have a slightly old fashioned C86 ordering process, but do drop them a line. Copies will also be available at Mighty Mighty gigs, check out their Facebook feed for details.
To finish off here is my favourite Mighty Mighty track ‘Blue and Green’, from their debut album ‘Sharks’, this is a perfect match of guitars and melancholy, love it.
I hope you like this piece, please leave a comment, any ramblings about the whole C86 world would be good to hear. Social media shares are the lifeblood of blogs so give it a plug on your feed, it would be much appreciated.
The Paper Lion