AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #146 : THE INDELICATES

A GUEST POSTING by ROL

(My Top Ten blog)

I’ve wanted to do an ICA for The Indelicates for a while. I could have just written them a Top Ten over at my own blog, but I wanted a bigger audience to sing this band’s praises to, because I honestly believe they’re one of the best bands of the 21st Century, even though I’ve never heard their records played on the radio or seen them reviewed in the music press.

It’s shocking really, but after ten years, the only place you’ll see The Indelicates championed is on the internet and in the blogosphere. Well, I want to add my voice to those accolades (again) because The Indelicates have just released their 6th studio album… and it may well be their best yet. (Or at least their best since their exceptional debut, 2008’s American Demo.)

Of course, I realise The Indelicates won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. They’re a difficult band to pin down. One minute they’re indie pop, the next they’re cabaret. One minute Jacques Brel, the next Carter USM. At times Kate Bush, occasionally Victoria Wood. They also have a very distinct lyrical voice, and they’re uncompromising in that voice. Just like Jim Bob, Morrissey, or Joe Strummer: they say what they have to say and don’t care one hoot if you don’t like it… they’re certainly not bothered about upsetting the BBC with their lyrics and not getting airplay… but then again, why should they be? Not even 6Music will touch them with a bargepole. (I never understood why Lammo wasn’t all over them. Maybe Peel would have loved them. Whether they’d have loved him back is another question entirely…) Enough pre-amble. Here’s ten of their best. I hope you like them as much as I do. If you do, give them some money for them.

SIDE A

1. Plaza Ballroom (Introduction)

2. The Plaza Ballroom, Manchester, Christmas Eve, 1956

Let’s start with a couple from their brand new record, Juniverbrecher. If you’re not affected by these two tracks then I’d go see a doctor. This is an album that fearlessly tackles what’s gone wrong in my country in recent years, tracing it all back to one man: Jimmy Saville. The rot spreads from him, and we’re all to blame. I used to work in radio, and though I never met the man, I certainly heard stories. And if I heard them, so far removed, those closer to the epicentre must have been in the know. On the album, these two tracks are followed by the glam rock stomper of a “single” Top of the Pops, with its choral chant of “There’s something wrong at the B-B-C!”. The theme continues across the disc, including a savage indictment of phony nostalgia and “the Ray Davies summer” of Waterloo Sunset on “Everything English Is The Enemy”. And if that doesn’t whet your appetite, once again I suggest a medical consultation.

3. America

Like a lot of angry British songwriters, the Indelicates have a love/hate relationship with the U.S.A. Here, from their debut album – with lashings of Manics’ guitars – is a reverse of I’m So Bored Of The USA by The Clash…

When they pin me to the wall I’ll say:

I’m with America
With godless America, I’ll stand and I’ll fall
Though it cuts me to my soul that
It must be America
It must be America
Or nothing at all!

4. McVeigh

The American obsession led the Indelicates to create their 2011 album, a musical!

David Koresh: Superstar tackled the infamous Waco siege and its repercussions. Here’s Jim Bob from Carter on guest vocals, playing the part of Timothy McVeigh, the man who responded to Waco by bombing Oklahoma in 1995.

5. The Recession Song

Firmly back in the UK for this one, the bands reaction to the noughties’ recession (and its effects on the music industry in particular), playfully referencing the Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs, among others. Fuck the recession!

SIDE B

6. We Hate The Kids

I’ll start side two with what I still believe to be the best single released in the 21st Century. Beyond that, I’ll let the song speak for itself.

And nobody ever comes alive
And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies
And boys who should know better grin and get high
With fat men who once met the MC5
And no one discusses what they don’t understand
And no one does anything to harm the brand
And this gift is an illusion, this isn’t hard
Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar!

7. Be Afraid Of Your Parents

And now for the cabaret. Channelling Brel, Music Hall and even a little Victoria Wood… it turns out it’s not just the kids Simon & Julia can’t stand… but their parents too.

8. Waiting For Pete Doherty To Die

An early b-side that sticks a pin into pop celebrity as only the Indelicates can. Perhaps their own lack of success keeps them grounded?

9. Pubes

And here’s a song about people who insist on taking their clothes off on the internet, from Diseases Of England (2012). What else do you need to know?

10. The Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock ‘n’ Roll

I had to finish with this one, again from their debut. Imagine starting your career by admitting it was all over before you began…

The fanzine writers write for broadsheets
The poor men found their daughters wealthy
Rebellion shores up the market
Rebellion keeps the nation healthy
This thing I loved, this thing I worshipped
This cruel, deceptive, vicious thing
I shall leave you to die where you lie
I shall forget my dying king
This is the last significant statement
To be made in rock and roll
Farewell to Gods and to Lords and to Ladies
Religions and the soul
This is the last significant statement
To be made in rock and roll
Everything that follows is a footnote
That we can turn to when we are… old.

And if that doesn’t persuade you to give this band your ears, I don’t know what the hell will!

ROL

JC adds….This is a band that I really enjoyed when they first appeared and have their first two albums and a number of early singles in the collection; I also caught them live in Glasgow a few years back and they were outstanding. Had no idea though, that they were still on the go, so huge thanks to Rol for this.

If you think that some of the female vocal contributions sound familiar then that’s perhaps down to Julia Indelicate being a past member of The Pipettes, who themselves had a guest ICA courtesy of Strangeways back in November 2016.