THE BITTER SPRINGS – Lucky 7
LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…today, Teddington lock up your songs & daughters, it’s the turn of arch pop punk flaneurs The Bitter Springs led by the buttoned down tack-sharp observational songwriting of Simon Rivers and now featuring as a permanent organist, the man Marc Riley calls the “greatest living Englishman”, longtime collaborator Vic Godard. Despite two decades of recording history as The Bitter Springs (previously they were known as The Last Party – John Peel favs) unbelievably they’ve never released a vinyl album – until now, with “The Odd Shower” imminent on the ever exceptional Tiny Global Productions (Band of Holy Joy, Blue Orchids, Nightingales). And it’s an absolute treat – sometimes visceral, always intellectual, impeccably magisterial and never unknowingly topical. If you like The Fall or Half Man Half Biscuit you’ve got “Angry All The Time”, if you like Aztec Camera or The Monochrome Set you’ve got “One More Sunset”, that’s not to mention the Delgados’-esque push-pull with songs like “Girls in F.I.T.S” or “Words of Love” with Kirsten Morrison. And with more than one song listing out haunts in old/new Albion it’s as English as beans and toast and chicken tikka masala. The record also comes with a limited CD EP called “Excretus In Completus” which features extra Vic Godard’s remix of “The Addison Brothers”, which Vic himself released as a very limited one-sided 7”, with original artwork from Mandy Prowse on the flipside.
It’s an enticing package – and likewise this Lucky 7 from The Bitter Spring feels long overdue but worth the wait… Before we go for it, indulge yourself with “The Living Bread” from “The Odd Shower”… 1. Kitchens of Distinction “The Third Time We Opened the Capsule” Before The Bitter Springs there was Last Party, my band formed with school friends Kim Ashford, Neil Palmer and Daniel Ashkenazy in the 80’s. We’d play loads of gigs and make our own records and even had a couple of Peel sessions. Quite often, the gigs were poorly attended affairs, but we’d dust ourselves off and get back to it straight away with the next one… Anyway, we’d organised to play the Half Moon, Herne Hill with some group called Kitchens of Distinction who we knew nothing about, other than we thought the name was a bit iffy. We watched them sound check and were blown away not just by the music but their attitude, and later on, by the way they seemed so untroubled by the fact the pub was empty. We took everything so seriously and hardly gave ourselves a chance to enjoy what we were playing, and as had happened in the past, I flung my guitar down and jumped on it in frustration at playing to no one. We saw the band many times after that and supported them on a few occasions – I won’t delve into the music they made on here, just to say I could have picked just about any of their songs. The chemistry between Dan (drums), Julian (guitars) and Patrick (bass/vocals/words) was so uplifting especially live. As a footnote, I was honoured to be asked to sing a duet with Patrick on his latest “Stephen Hero” LP “Deciduous Eccentric” which is, if I say so myself, a bloody lovely piece of work. Our song together is called “Don’t Say It’s Too Late” and it closes the LP and you can find it here… Stephen Hero – Deciduous Eccentric …and “The Third Time We Opened the Capsule” is here: 2. The Raincoats – Only Loved At Night More often than...