Click on the mp3 below and have a listen. Said moment happens at the nineteen seconds mark when the strings so unexpectedly kick in.

mp3 : Fire Engines – Candyskin

Candyskin was released in May 1981 and was the second single to be released by Fire Engines. It came out on Pop Aural Records, the Edinburgh-based label which provided so much of the storyline for the superb Big Gold Dream documentary as reviewed earlier this year. Frontman Davy Henderson is one of the stars of said documentary, regaling the audience with hilarious and often hard-to-believe yet true tales of the life and times of a would-be pop star in Scotland’s capital in those dark and dangerous days when punks were sneered at and regarded with outright hostility just for the crime of looking and sounding different from the norm.

I was completely unaware of Candyskin till September 1983 when I finally moved out of the family home and into a student flat at the beginning of my third year at University. This noisy, abrasive and unconventional single was owned by a flatmate and it was one of his all-time favourites…….it didn’t take me long to understand and appreciate why. About 19 seconds…….

The b-side is another crazy sounding piece of music, the title of became the name of one of the short-lived bands to come out of the C86 movement as mentioned in Part 25 of the just completed series:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Meat Whiplash

The single would be voted in at #58 in John Peel’s Festive Fifty for 1981. You might be wondering why this could be but in those days the great man read out the names of those songs that were voted in at 60-51 just before the end of the rundown. That was the year that Fire Engines recorded two Peel Sessions, the first of which included this take on one of the most popular political songs of the era:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thang

The second session offered up this:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Candyskin (Peel Session)



  1. Ah yes, what a belter ‘Candyskin’ is. A mighty spikey version of ‘Fascist Groove Thang’ too.
    You might have hit upon an idea there. Great individual moments in songs. I can think of a couple that make me melt, usually to the great amusement of whoever is listening with me.

  2. Great individual moments in songs? First thing that comes into my head is about halfway through “There Goes The Cure” by One Dove when (and I feel like this should be hidden by some sort of spoiler tag like on TVTropes) Jah Wobble comes in.

  3. Fire Engines entire career reads as a wonderous moment in pop history, but that moment in Candyskin does increase my pulse rate.

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