…’s a piece on The Mock Turtles, courtesy of the C88 box set.

This North Manchester band would enjoy a brief period in the sun with 1991’s ‘Can You Dig It?’, single (later resurrected for a Vodaphone ad, no less).  Back in 987, emerging from the ashes of Judge Happiness, they signed to Alan Duffy’s Imaginary label (later home of Cud and others), releasing the David Bowie-flavoured ‘Pomona EP’.

Martin Coogan (brother of comedian Steve) didn’t spare the horses – or budget – and the record featured a string section as well as the trademark ringing guitars present on ‘Mary’s Garden’, a stand-out track of the quartet which later graced debut album ‘Turtle Soup’ in 1990.  A string of singles followed, including the original version of ‘And Then She Smiles’ (now the theme tune to TV’s Stella) before the band moved to Siren and charted with their signature tune hit.

mp3: The Mock Turtles – John O’War
mp3: The Mock Turtles – Bathing In Blue
mp3: The Mock Turtles – Mary’s Garden
mp3: The Mock Turtles – The Waning Moon

This is the first time I’ve heard any of the above songs other than Mary’s Garden.

Thirty seconds into John O’War, and I’m picking up where Noel Gallagher night have found his inspiration for Wonderwall. Acoustic guitars and strings abound. And then the singing starts, and I think I’m listening to some sort of spoof of indie pop music of the late 80s as done in skits by the likes of Rob Newman and The Mary Whitehouse Experience.

Bathing In Blue is very earnest. Not really my sort of thing back in 1987 and not really my sort of thing now. I’m fearing this is turning into the sort of post I keep telling myself not to do, and that is – if you can’t find something positive to say then it’s best to say nothing at all.

Mary’s Garden is the song I did know from it being part of the C88 box set. It’s never particularly stood out, but then again there are a lot of excellent songs across the 71 songs spread across the 3xCDs. There is that Bowie-influenced vocal referenced earlier, and the guitars are typically indie of their time.

The Waning Moon sounds like Bauhaus, so there’s further evidence of the Bowie influence across the whole EP. As it turns out, this is the one which seems to have aged best of all….or so I thought until about 90 seconds in when it went all middle of the road rock.

All in all, a strange EP, offering up a mix of styles while giving no indication that a few years later, jumping on the baggy bandwagon would bring that smash hit.



  1. Must be a UK thing. Never heard of the Mock Turtles (Echorich probably saw them 10 times) or their 1991 hit. Gave it a listen and it sounds like Teenage Fanclub with 1/2 the blood drained out of them. No wonder they didn’t register with you, JC.

  2. These are a bit meh – but some of the stuff that appeared later was actually pretty good , with their one hit the one thing I didn’t like at all

  3. Nope Brother J, they only skimmed my notice at the time. Speaking of time, they certainly sound of their time listening to them now. A bit Pop/Goth, a bit Indie, a bit meh as FoRW says…

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