Pop Wallpaper were formed in around 1981 in Stirling, Scotland, with the original line-up of Evan Henderson (guitar/vocals), David Evans (guitar), Stephen Hunter (bass) and Les Cook (drums). The band gigged locally to much critical acclaim and moved their base to Edinburgh in 1982 with a final line-up of Audrey Redpath (vocals), Evan Henderson (guitar), David Evans (guitar), Myles Raymond (bass), Les Cook (drums, keyboards) and John McVay (sax, keyboards).
During the course of their life, the band played throughout Scotland, supporting the likes of Lloyd Cole & The Commotions and, bizarrely, Afrikka Bambaatta & The Soulsonic Force, building up a solid fan-base.
The first EP was released in 1984 and was a 3-track single headed up by “Over Your Shoulder”. This single had extensive radio play on BBC Radio 1 on the John Peel and Janice Long shows, leading to a Janice Long session recorded at the BBC in London.
This was followed by a second single in 1986, a double-A side featuring a cover of the Shuggie Otis song “Strawberry Letter 23” and “Nothing Can Call Me Back”. Again these received a fair amount of airplay, but unfortunately little commercial success outwith their core base in Edinburgh.
I’ve had a copy of the 12″ of the second single for a while now, holding it back until such a time as their turn came up in this long-running series. It’s not one I picked up back in 1984, although I had heard it played a couple of times at the alternative nights held each Thursday in the Students Union at Strathclyde Uni, but I did see a second-hand copy in a shop around three years ago.
mp3: Pop Wallpaper – Strawberry Letter 23
mp3: Pop Wallpaper – Nothing Can Call Me Back
I wasn’t aware until more recently that the band only ever released the two singles, and, as it turns out, the previous effort was included in the Big Gold Dreams boxset compilation from a couple of years back:-
mp3: Pop Wallpaper – Over Your Shoulder
The booklet which comes with BGD provides the information that Evan Henderson would later become the manager of Paul Haig – and indeed is someone who, a few years ago, became a huge friend of the blog.
Returning to Pop Wallpaper, I think its fair to say they are very much of their time, but there’s something that little bit different about the noise they make to make them a tad more interesting than most. Audrey’s vocals are quite unique, and there’s a sense of Associates/Haig/Win about the music in many places.