Another new name to me via the C88 boxset was Bubblegum Splash!

I’ve done some digging and found that they came from Salisbury and comprised Nikki Barr (vocals), Jim Harrison (guitar), Dave Todd (bass), Marty Cummins (tambourine/backing vocals) and Alan Ware (drums). They weren’t together for any length of time – barely over a year – and the total sum of their contribution to the heritage of indie-pop is just seven songs:-

Splashdown EP (1987): Plastic Smile, Just Walked Away, Fast Of Friends and One Of Those Things
(worth noting that all four songs have a combined length of just over 7-and-a half minutes)

Surfin in the Suburb compilation LP (1987) : Someone Said and The 18:10 to Yeovil Junction

Two Groovy Pop Songs split 7” flexidisc with The Darling Buds (1988): If Only
(given away free with Issue 2 Of “So Naive” Fanzine, printed in Norwich)

Legend has it that the band actually had a total of 13 songs in their repertoire, that they were together for 13 months and they split after an acrimonious 13th live gig.

They were considered decent enough to get a deal with the Subway Organisation, for whom the EP was recorded and on which they also feature via the compilation LP. What little there is out there about Bubblegum Splash! indicates they, like many other bands that burst onto the scene around the same time, were influenced by the likes of Buzzcocks and the Postcard-era Orange Juice. They played on the same bills as the likes of The Pastels, Talulah Gosh, The Primitives, The Darling Buds and The Vaselines, and have some infamy in that Stephen Pastel, in a fanzine interview back in the day, declared:-

“On the minus there are groups like Bubblegum Splash! We played with them in Bristol, and they just summed up everything that’s wrong in music just now. I mean they had one song that went la-la-la like Primal Scream and another with the bum-de-bum drumbeats a la Shop Assistants. It was just a joke.”

Going by the unshabby track that was included on the C88 boxset, that does sound a bit of a harsh and unfair assessment, although there may well be some of you who will not be enamoured by the vocal delivery:-

mp3: Bubblegum Splash! – The 18:10 to Yeovil Junction

Having said that, Nikki Barr in an on-line interview a few years back did concede that Stephen had a point:-

“I joined the band knowing I couldn’t really sing, it was good fun, never thought we would gig let alone release anything. I was very shy and nervous. In band practices I used to sing behind a curtain.”

Judge for yourself as here’s everything else that was ever committed to vinyl:-

mp3: Bubblegum Splash! – Plastic Smile
mp3: Bubblegum Splash! – Just Walked Away
mp3: Bubblegum Splash! – Fast Of Friends
mp3: Bubblegum Splash! – One Of Those Things

mp3: Bubblegum Splash! – Someone Said

mp3: Bubblegum Splash! – If Only

I like them!!!


4 thoughts on “INDIE TRACKS

  1. I was the bass player. Didn’t expect to see myself pop up in my inbox this morning!

    (Behind Nikki in the photo)

  2. These songs are all ace, particularly ‘The 18:10 to Yeovil Junction’.

    It’s of little consequence, but tonight this song would leave a shade
    later: at 18:16 (based on a journey from Bristol Temple Meads),
    changing at Exeter St David’s (19:25) for arrival into Yeovil Junction at
    precisely 20:27.

    ‘All aboard.’

  3. I have the EP and it’s a rush of hormones and adrenaline. It teeters on its tiptoes while it stands on the chair in the middle of the room.

  4. This exactly the sound that captured me all those years ago. Derided by some, loved by others – when it’s done this well – it’s just joyous. I’m sure Mr Pastel would recant those comments in a heartbeat, if he could. The key thing Nikki said in her interview was “it was good fun”. That fun has made for some enjoyable music for the rest of us.

    Strangeways comment was dry but hilarious. One wonders if he has a hallowed copy of a Bradshaw guide close at hand? I can’t help but wonder if he does has he ever attempted to use it to catch a contemporary train?

    7 songs to make any train journey go smoothly.

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