I’ve said on a number of previous occasions that the period from late 87 through to mid 90 wasn’t one when I kept up with much of what was going on musically. My immense gaps have been filled in over the years, initially by Jacques the Kipper and increasingly so from the many fine bloggers who were immersed in things at the time and write so eloquently about it these days.

One of the finest songs from that period was this 1989 single from a Manchester band:-

mp3 : Dub Sex – Swerve

Dub Sex were a band seemingly impossible to pigeon-hole. They made raw, angry sounding music with a pop bent to it and nothing at all like so many of their peers and neighbours who would go on to enjoy, and in many cases waste, fame and fortune. There wasn’t all that much released – one flexi disc, four singles, one LP and one compilation between 1987 and 1989 . After the inevitable split, vocalist Mark Hoyle and bass player Cathy Brooks formed Dumb but again with no signs of obvious success.

The years have been kind to Dub Sex. By all accounts they were a blisteringly good live act fondly remembered by many who caught them back in the day; I think there’s also a great deal of goodwill towards them with the fact that their music has dated much better than many of the tunes which were better known back in the day. Swerve, which also had the distinction of making the Peel Festive 50 in 1989 (at #39), is a tremendous record in which Mark growls to his audience that ‘the choice is yours’ driven along by a tune that wouldn’t have been out-of-place on a Pixies release.

The band did get back together a few years back, playing shows to sell-out audiences in 2014 along with a new 7″ single specially put together for Record Store Day. That’s about as much as I can fill you in on – there will be, I’m sure, readers who can say a lot more. Here’s the two hugely enjoyable and still fairly contemporary sounding b-sides to Swerve:-

mp3 : Dub Sex – I Am Not Afraid
mp3 : Dub Sex – The Big Freeze

And here’s how I first heard the band – courtesy of its inclusion on a Peel Sessions compilation CD.  This version is about a minute longer than the single version:-

mp3 : Dub Sex – Swerve (Peel Session)



  1. Yeah, they were great: I saw them live at a local venue over here back then and I was astonished to find out that the singer turned out to be rather a tiny bloke, not something you’d have expected judging from his voice! ‘Swerve’ is from ’89 and I think their ’87/’88 stuff is even better, ‘Voice Of Reason’, ‘Tripwire’ and ‘Every Secret’ in particular …

  2. Great live band. They were the support for Happy Mondays at the Hacienda for the Hillsborough fund raising gig

  3. I once mistakenly bought this 12″ single in 2012, mistaking it for a release by Dubset! A band I’d been looking for releases by for almost 20 years! I have not gotten around to playing it yet, but I now have the Dubset album/12″ that I had wanted for so long,

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