Saturday, 21 December 2013

7 inch singles collection: Bedazzled - Teenage Mother Superior

From the remnants of Apple Mosaic its:


A-side: Teenage Mother Superior
B-Side: Always Never
(Columbia 1991)

You may remember the very post in this blog was about EMF and I mentioned that the guitarist had come from much lamented Gloucester band Apple Mosaic, well the singer, the fantastically monikered Laurence Carrington-Windo, formed this band. Presumably named after the Peter Cook & Dudley Moore film (and not the Liz Hurley remake). Bedazzled were less obviously dancey than EMF, but they flirted around the periphery of the 'baggy' movement which was mainly made up of jangly indie bands, who'd gone a bit funky claiming that they'd always had an element of dance music in their sound. Bedazzled's problem with this is that this particular bandwagon had long left town and they were trailing along behind unable to catch up. Evidence of how uncool they were was that around this time I remember seeing them on whatever nonsense replaced Pebble Mill at One in the early afternoons at this time period. It was presented, if my memory doesn't let me down by Alan Titchmarsh and Judi Spiers. So, yeah, they'd missed the cool train by several stops.

Teenage Mother Superior is an energetic funky workdown full of wah-wah laden effects and a full on sneer from Laurence (he was very good at the sneering vocal I recall). I always kind of enjoyed this song in an unthinking way, but having re-listened to it for the purposes of this blog, the lyrical content has made me think a bit harder. This is a good thing, one of the purposes of this blog was to make me re-assess some of my old favourites. My problem is the the hard time being given to the titular Teenage Mother Superior in the lyrics, fair enough the narrator seems to be answering her questioning of his hedonistic life-style, but he's coming off at best boorish, and at worst bullying. They need to do some mellowing out here, and maybe just agree to disagree and respect each other's lifestyles before departing amicably. So good tunesmithery, well delivered, but the hectoring lyrics now no longer sit well with me.

A nice treat as we turn over this platter to find two b-sides therein. Aware of this kind of trickery, I check the label and find it plays and 33 1/3 rpm, an adjust the speed accordingly, (I've been caught out before.) The first track, Always Never, sounds not too dissimilar to the a-side - full of guitar effects maybe falling to the rockier side of dance than the funky side this time. A track about missing out on stuff and never being able to get the time to do things - something I think we can all appreciate. I enjoy the verses of Always Never much more than the chorus which sounds a little strained.

Missing is mellower than the other other two tracks, and I'm happy for the change. Whilst still being full of typical indie-style chimes it noticeably wanders into AOR territory, but at no particular detriment to the song. Considering it's about someone who has gone missing (all be it voluntarily) it's conspicuously jaunty in tone. It's not that memorable though, and whilst I'll always be able to summon the a-side to my mind both of the b-side tracks don't have that spark (which is why they're b-sides!)

Next time something a little bit jazzy...

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