Sunday, 19 January 2014

7 Inch Singles Collection: Cracker - Teen Angst

Whatever happened to Camper van Beethoven?:


A-side: Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)
B-Side: Can I Take My Gun To Heaven
(Virgin America 1992)

Those of you who are terminally hip, will probably remember American alternative rock group Camper Van Beethoven (best remember for the sublime Take The Skinheads Bowling). Well Cracker was formed by CVB singer David Lowery after the demise of that group. I bought this record simply on that premise - I'd liked the CVB tracks I heard, and I so I figured I'd like this too. Funnily enough though, although I can remember buying this record, (the record sleeve is arrestingly, if not pleasantly memorable), I couldn't remember what it sounded like. I must have played it when I bought it, but I can't recollect what it sounded like.

Teen Angst seems to rally against the the pretentiousness and superficiality of much of the then current music scene, (and is applicable to now just as much. Ironically they do this by sound partly pretentious and superficial - but I'm guessing that was deliberate. Cracker seem to get lumped in with much of the grunge movement of the time, but I think they are something separate from that. Whilst being rockier their sound is much cleaner and more focused. maybe it's the attitude rather than the sound that they share most with the grungers.

Can I Take My Gun To Heaven is on the other side of the record. Now this sounded odd on my listen - slowing down and then getting back up to speed - like the record was warped. Now Teen Angst played fine, and I checked the vinyl and it wasn't warped and there was no visible damage, but that doesn't mean it wasn't, but also possible is that it was a deliberate effect - but I find it hard to believe that someone would do that. So I've decided to treat it as damage to the record and just say what I think I could discern from it. Which isn't too much to be honest - it's slower that the a-side and sounds pretty much like standard alternative rock. It's obviously not about taking a gun into Heaven, but what that's a metaphor for has been lost in the warped sound. Regardless of that it doesn't seem to have the catchy qualities of the a-side and it didn't really grab me at all.

So it turns out that I couldn't remember it because it was OK, not brilliantly catchy, but not memorably awful either. Seems age may have may have improved this record because it's stuck in my head, and am actually thinking of listening to it again.
  Next time something with a bit more melodrama...

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