I was cleaning up some music files on the laptop the other day, mostly involving the deletion of duplicate tracks. It’s quite astonishing just how often some songs have been licensed to appear on mumerous compilation CDs, especially those that celebrate UK indie-musicin the mid-late 80s.
In carrying out the clean-up, I noticed I had three songs by Blow-Up, courtesy of them being on both the multi-label C87 and C88 boxsets and also from being on Ambition (Volume 1), a 1991 compilation of 24 songs that had been released by Cherry Red. The band were a total mystery to me, being one that I couldn’t recall at all. Here’s wiki:-
Blow-Up was formed in Brighton, England in 1986 by former 14 Iced Bears member Nick Roughley (vocals), along with Alan Stirner (guitar), Whirl frontman Trevor Elliott on Bass, and The Milk Sisters Drummer Chris Window (drums).
Signing to Creation Records at their first gig by an awe-struck Alan McGee they gained exposure with two singles on the label, 1987’s 1966-Nuggets-style “Good For Me” and the epic “Pool Valley” (the latter taking its name from Brighton’s bus station and featuring new bassist Aziz Hashmi).
A BBC Janice Long live session at the legendary BBC Abbey Road studios in 1987 brought the outfit well needed publicity with the help of Dave Nimmo on percussion. A tour of the Netherlands and Belgium was followed by their early recordings being collected on the Rollercoaster compilation issued on Megadisc in 1988. After two further EP’s, the Pixies-influenced first album proper, In Watermelon Sugar, was issued in 1990. This line-up featured Justin Spear, son of Roger Ruskin Spear of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and ‘Paul’ Reeves, who as Billy Reeves formed theaudience with Sophie Ellis-Bextor in 1997. An ambitious further album, Amazon Eyegasm (featuring the former 14 Iced Bear Will Taylor on guitar and ‘Red Ed’ on drums) followed in 1991.
Blow-Up were described as ‘the best band I ever signed, and the worst band I ever signed’ by Alan McGee.
So there you have it….and here’s the three songs that I have via CD compilations:-
All three were released as singles. All three are quite different in tone and feel. And maybe that’s the issue at hand…they sound like a band that was constantly searching for a sound they were comfortable with. None of the songs are dreadful, but none of them are particularly memorable or distinctive.