Saturday, August 16, 2008

Embed and breakfast man: Echobelly weekend

A couple of weekends ago, we did Sleeper, and one of the names mentioned in the comments was Echobelly. Sonya Aurora Madan's lot had the same 'sleeperbloke' jibe thrown at them, too - although Curve's Debbie Smith was also part of the classic line-up - but outlived the Britpop boom that brought them to chart success. The "pretty frontwoman" syndrome was as frustrating for Aurora Madan as it was for Wener, as she told designer magazine:

I just had an opinion! We came out at a time when lad culture was very much orientated towards Loaded and Oasis and for a girl to speak her mind it was seen as such a big deal. Even though supposedly rock & roll it wasn't meant to be like that, but it still was. A lot of journalists can't handle it if you actually say "No actually I don't think that's true". Woah, she's got a brain!

(Just in passing, you can tell the vintage of some bands when most of the fan sites for them are on Tripod or Geocities.)

It's notable that Sonya was one of the only non-white faces in all the Britpop bands, which is something usually forgotten when choosing to point to the genre as somehow being representative of 1990s British youth. Her "and the drummer from the Boo Radleys" didn't quite capture the diversity of modern British society, does it?

Sonya was inspired by Morrissey - at one point sleeping on his lawn; and, indeed, Morrissey is the #1 Echobelly fan on their official MySpace - but quickly moved on from being Smiths wannabes. There was some suggestion that the band's playful perversity was down to Glenn Johansson, the guitarist, whose previous job had been editing a Swedish porn magazine, but that, we suspect, is simply because "writing about sex" is one of those things that some people didn't really think young women should do. It's amusing to think that Sonya was escaping a strict Indian family atmosphere only to find herself living under the even tighter strictures of the classic indie fan.

The band released three albums in their original burst, then returned briefly in 2001 with People Are Expensive and in 2004 with Gravity Pulls. The latter album had no singles released in support. Their official website reported work on new demos in 2006, but these never saw a formal release and, earlier this year, the site was retitled A Retrospective Website.

So, for this weekend, then, Echobelly live again.

This is their clarion call, I Can't Imagine The World Without Me and Go Away, from the Phoenix Festival (the short-lived petulant response to the struggles over the ownership of the Reading Festival):

Best of - Released this year
Everyone's Got One - one of the few albums whose title was intentionally an acrostic. You don't get that with Oasis.
On - probably the definitive Echobelly studio album
Gravity Pulls - only available on a twenty quid import at Amazon; you might want to try iTunes instead

More to come across the weekend
Great Things live on Britpop Now
King of the Kerb on Top Of The Pops
Insomniac promo
Natural Animal live on JBTV and some links to unembeddable video
The World Is Flat live on TFI Friday
Dark Therapy

UPDATE: Original video had vanished, so have found a different version of it - 08-13


Anonymous said...

I didnt see Echobelly once, I went to see them at Wolverhampton Civic but as I wasnt a fan I was only there for the support bands, Rialto and Bennet. Bennet have the honour of being the loudest band I ever saw, ear splittingly loud, Metallica and Slayer, who both I have unfortunately seen claim to be louder than everyone else, they dont even come close to Bennet. As for Echobelly, I was at the train station before they played a note.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

They did have a knack of choosing support bands that would eclipse them: I saw them at the Liverpool Lomax where The Flaming Lips were the warm-ups.

Anonymous said...

Spooky... Hadn't heard of Rialto for years, then this morning I was trying to compose a list of Bands With Two Drummers*, and they were the first one I thought of. One hour later, they pop up here! I fully expect to bump into Louis himself in town later.

Echobelly were great - 'I Can't Imagine...' was one of the first proper singles I bought (does anyone else have a kind-of Year Zero in their music collection where they stopped buying, for example, Right Said Fred, and started hunting out stuff they'd heard on the Evening Session?). And when all the best bands were coming from Manchester, London and Sheffield, I took heart from the fact that Echobelly were the closest I had to a local band, what with Debbie reportedly coming from 20 miles down the road in Bedford.

On was indeed a fine album, especially 'King of the Kerb'. I used to live with a chap who got quite angry with 'Great Things' because 'None of the words rhyme'. Must admit, while there are worse things in the world to get angry about, he was kind-of factually correct.

*If anyone can think of some more, do say so. So far I've got Rialto, Apollo 440 and the Go! Team.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Two drummers?

That's just understaffing:

Didn't one of the metal bands have two drummers? Iron Maiden, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

2 drummers, the most famous is of course Adam and the Ants. I was going to say Neds but they had 2 bassists not drummers.

Anonymous said...

2? 10? 50? Thats nothing, The Boredoms recently did it with 88

Anonymous said...

Please leave the scurge of music that was Britpop alone. Bad enough to have Oasis still straining to crap out another sub-60s set of driveling gibberish. What next, a Menswear weekend? Lush? Getitupye Simon and give the people what they need: a Wu Tang Clan retrospective. Obnov!

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Wasn't a weekend about all Menswear managed to begin with?

Now... a Lush weekend, since you mention it... hmm...

Paul said...

In Sep 2007 I wrote to Glenn asking if Echobelly were still around and he replied:

"We are not together as such. The band echobelly is no more but me and Sonya are starting something new. We’ve written about twenty songs that we’re very excited about so maybe we can do something in the future when we’ve sorted things out."

Saw Echobelly live once, supported by Le Hammond Inferno (well they did a great DJ set rather than a support set as such), and I got very drunk but not drunk enough to ruin my evening.

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