IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (56)

Paris Angels were a seven-piece band, formed in 1989, who set about trying to blend indie guitar music with the fresh explosion in electronica dance and acid house music.  You won’t be surprised to hear that they were from Manchester and were known to frequent the Hacienda and other nightclubs across the city.

They were picked up by the locally based Sheer Joy Records and this was the first single to be issued by the label, recorded in Peter Hook‘s Suite 16 Studio, previously known as Cargo Studios, Rochdale, where Joy Division recorded much of their early material:-

mp3: Paris Angels – All On You (Perfume)

It’s an absolute classic but was, however, more of a success in the clubs than on the radio, failing to crack the Top 75 despite being named as single of the week by the NME on 3 June 1990.   John Peel took a shine to it, or at least his listeners did, voting it in at #6 in the Festive 50 of 1990, with only The Fall, My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Sonic Youth having entries above Paris Angels (Ride had two songs in the Top 4).

Here’s the two tracks to be found on the b-side of the 12″ version of the single:-

mp3: Paris Angels – Muffin 2
mp3: Paris Angels – Perfume (version)

The former, to my ears, is very reminiscent of the dance music from other Manchester bands on Factory such as A Certain Ratio and 52nd Street. The latter has a real Brotherhood-era New Order influence about it.

The buzz around the band led to Virgin Records dangling a contract in front of them in early 1991 and so, after just three singles for Sheer Joy, they signed to the bigger label and went into the studio to make an album.   Virgin, knowing a good thing when they hear it, reissued All On You and second time around it proved to be a minor hit, reaching #55 in July 1991

The following year saw Virgin Records sold in its entirety to EMI, the outcome of which saw something of a cull across many of its singers and bands.  Paris Angels were one of those who didn’t receive the call-up to the major leagues, and they called it a day shortly afterwards, despite the fact a second album had already been recorded. One of the band’s members, Paul Wagstaff, would find a bit of fame as a member of Black Grape before becoming part of the reformed and touring Happy Mondays.

The afore-mentioned second album is out there for free, if you want it. It turns out that in 2013 the band reformed to play live, and signed a deal  to finally issue that second album. The deal, however, fell through, and they decided instead to make the record available as a free download on Bandcamp. Click here if you’re interested.

JC

11 thoughts on “IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (56)

  1. It was indeed! This popped up on a mixtape of indie/dance tunes that a friend compiled for me back in the day and I was immediately hooked by this song. I’ve got both 12″ singles and it’s fair to say that the remixed versions buffed away the edges that made these original versions so great.

    I didn’t know about the unreleased second album or that it was available for free on Bandcamp. Duly downloaded and added to today’s listening. Thanks, JC.

  2. Love this single and have a copy of the original release . Also thought the debut lp was great so the link to the second one that I didn’t know existed is a lovely surprise . Felt they had something more about them than a majority of other Manchester bands

  3. I agree with FoRW “I Felt they had something more about them than a majority of other Manchester bands” attempting indie/dance crossover. They really seemed to understand pop music.

    I own this and Scope on 12″. It’a song that should have seen its Festive 50 placing reflected in the actual pop charts.

  4. I bought the 12” with orange cover on the strength of the NME review – I used to do that a lot in the pre-internet age, with a few exceptions it was a decent guide to what was sounding good. Along with the On section of the paper.
    The single stills sound a brill. I saw them live at Staffs Poly early on and they really kicked up a storm live as well in a small venue like that

  5. Yes, I had the 12″ of this too. I put it on a playlist recently and was surprised how good it still sounds. A little dated perhaps, but not nearly to the same extent as a lot of other stuff released at the time.

  6. Great single and thanks for the Bandcamp link. It was a popular tune on the indie-dance dancefloors of my early 90s student days in Manchester.
    Your mention of Ride as their John Peel contemporaries reminds me that on first hearing Andy Bell’s work with Pye Corner Audio earlier this year brought to mind the sound of Paris Angels.

  7. ’88 – ’91 were my wilderness years, so I never even heard of Paris Angels until this post. I can see where this would have been a big club hit. Nice to see it bring back so many fond memories from the TVV crowd.

  8. Great single, really capturing a time and a place. Scope was good too. I saw them several times up here, at Liverpool and in Manchester. Liverpool university had a Saturday night called Temptation where an unannounced band would appear from behind a screen, play for 30 mins, and then the screen would descend. Pretty sure they played at that (definitely saw the New FADS at Temptation, World Of Twist too). £3.75.

  9. Love to this day the four singles. They were harder to track down in Canada but I did. I do have to say I was disappointed with the rest of the album. Still a classic band!

  10. Just following my previous comment up as Andy Bell of Ride fame has released a cover of Paris Angels – Perfume today on Bandcamp. Although the recording appeared on YouTube last year by the looks of things.

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