a kind of sexual manner

I’ll start with an admission. Much as I’ve enjoyed others’ ICAs, and often particularly those that I’d not immediately think that I would, the thought of, however much I like the band in question, spending hours listening to the back catalogue of the likes of It’s Immaterial, Curiosity Killed the Cat or Echo and the Bunnymen, fills me with dread. Look forwards, or possibly sideways is my music philosophy. Sure, I’ll listen to the odd old track here and there but I’m far more interested in what’s new, and I only have so many hours in the day. (At the time of writing for example, I’d recommend the new Pussy Mothers 12”. Brilliant.) I suppose, if honest, I never thought that I’d get round to this.

So why now? Why this one? It came about after a bit of social media banter with my old (though not quite as old as me) friend Hugh on his birthday. I was going to freak him out with some pics of memorabilia from his musical youth, and as part of hunting that out, found my favourite ever music review.


Our subsequent exchange inspired a bit of nostalgia from friends and musos of then, and some searching out of the songs by friends of now. Generally, the feedback seemed positive and confirmed my thinking that the band of which he had been a member made some damn fine records back in the day.

To exorcise the demons and, let’s be honest, because the back catalogue isn’t of REM proportions and I do dip in and out of it fairly regularly, I’ve set about putting together a set of songs that I think work as an album, albeit clearly a compilation. For those that already know the band, you’ll notice I’ve missed a few of the usual suspects. No worries, they’ll be on the separate limited edition, money spinning Record Store Day khaki coloured vinyl EP, later to be incorporated onto a re-released deluxe version of the album.

I’ve not given you a rundown of the band before, during and after, and barely any detail about chronology or wider societal issues of the time. And for once no sordid tales of sex and drugs, though clearly there is plenty rock ‘n’ roll. The hope is that the music talks (okay, sometimes shouts) for itself. Let’s party like it’s just past 1999.

As the album cover says, I give you Foil and “a kind of sexual manner”…

Side 1

Reviver Gene (original single)

Released more times than an Elvis greatest hits package. This remains for me the definitive version. Drunk and triumphant indeed. Probably the start for most Foil fans. Call me biased – you already have no doubt – but this remains one of my favourite Scottish singles ever. Just saying.

Easy Life And Ignonimy (from Never Got Hip LP)

Moving on to a song that sums up Foil perfectly. Firstly, apparently, they take advice from a broken chair – surely that can be the only reason that the band did not pre-empt Buffy Cluedo in the popular music charts. Secondly, only they would use “ignominy” in a song. With some “celibacy” thrown in for good measure. For that they should be loved forever.

High Wire (from Spread It All Around LP)

Does music get any more joyous than this? They meant it man.

In The Ground (from ‘B-side’ of Reviver Gene CD single)

Where Foil show their tender side. This could meander on for another five minutes and I’d still be nodding my head along appreciatively. Just beautiful.

Superhero No 1 (single)

Spot the Batman riff. Another non-hit single. Sadly. I daresay that this was the moment in 2000 when I realised that they really weren’t destined to be embraced by the musical mainstream. If this failed, it really wasn’t happening. Shame.

Voodoo Autograph (from ‘B side’ of Let It Go Black CD single)

Can I describe this a bit more blues-y? I suppose that I just have. This is one that I really hadn’t listened to for years. Nicely ends the first side I reckon.

Side 2

Let It Go Black (single)

Let’s start side 2 by going back to the very start. A time before Reviver Gene. A time even before young people had beards. Another absolutely cracking song. I guarantee that after listening to this you’ll be singing or humming along to its hook for the rest of the day. I hope also that you’ll be rushing out to purchase the Foil back catalogue.

Weird Kid (from Never Got Hip LP)

Possibly the closest thing I could include that sums up the live experience that were Foil. It was loud, it was fast, there was a fair bit of screaming and even some harmonising. It built fairly quickly to a climax and it almost always came to an abrupt end. Oo-er!

Are You Enemy? (from Spread It All Around LP)

Another song that builds. A gentle and sensitive love song. Sort of.

The World Is Weird (from ‘B side’ of Superhero No 1 CD single)

I always think there’s a bit of Johnny Marr in here. Deliberately included to show that there was so much more to Foil than the Sugar-y reference on the cover. The guest singer is Helen Connolly. Just a gorgeous song.

Claremont Junction Optimist (from Never Got Hip LP)

Talking of gorgeous and, again, musical firsts. Has there ever been a more sexy mention of Staropramen in a song than this? I think not.

Hey You (from ‘B side’ of Reviver Gene re-release CD single)

And so the album ends as it began. With references to getting drunk. Having known Hugh for too many years to mention I can only praise his imagination because I’ve rarely seen an alcoholic beverage cross his lips…

Forget To Breathe (from ‘B side’ of Superhero No 1 CD single)

Oh wait, there’s a secret hidden track. From the acid jazz years. Another side that you probably didn’t know had existed.

And that really is it. The band that I shall never mention again on these pages. Although I am loving the new Hugh stuff so much that I retain the right to rave about that at some point. It really is very different. I might even do a further ICA – in fact, that mention of Curiosity Killed The Cat…



  1. Revival gene should have been a hit record. Bloody marvellous track. I remember reviewing their album for some magazine somewhere. I’ve kept all of my reviews so I will have it somewhere.

  2. Thank you. Great band, saw them supporting the Fall the night before MES lost it with Hanley and Scanlon. Still have all the autographed coloured vinyl I bought on the night. Can’t believe you left off ‘Control Freak’ though 🙂

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