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:-
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:-
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.