Davy Henderson‘s reputation as a maverick genius seems to be growing with each passing year. Some folk love him primarily for what he achieved in the early 80s with the angular post-punk of Fire Engines, while others pine for the super-pop era and near-chart success of Win. Next up was his ten-plus years with Nectarine No.9, part of which was with the resurrected Postcard Records in the mid-90s; this brought about six albums that I think can be best be accurately described as being a mixed-bag, but having said that, when Nectarine No.9 did produce the goods, they were an essential listen.

Next out of the blocks was The Sexual Objects, whose discography consists of a handful of singles and albums, more often than not in limited editions. The first single, Full Penetration, dates back to 2007 on Creeping Bent Records while the most recent album, Marshmallow, was issued in 2017 on Triassic Tusk Records, a very small label based on the east coast of Scotland. The album had a pressing of just 300 copies, but even that was something of a bonus.

Here’s the wonderful folk at Monorail, the best record store in Glasgow, Scotland, the entire world, to tell you all:-

Upon completion of a record that is one of the very best in a career that runs spectacularly all the way from The Dirty Reds to The Fire Engines to Nectarine Number 9 to The Sexual Objects, Davy Henderson, frustrated at the conventions of record releases, decided to play a high risk strategy with the master copy by putting it up for auction.It was a punk move that out Bill Drummonded Bill Drummond.

By taking something most artists and musicians would consider more important and precious than money – their new work, years in the making – he threw down a fragile gauntlet. As the auction became publicised many of us wondered who might buy it (an art collector, a punk snob, Bob Last?) and if we’d ever get to hear the record (admission: some of us had heard a handful of tracks and loved them). Fortunately the record fell into very safe hands by way of the noble guys at Triassic Tusk, and we’re so happy to come in as special partners on this, the first (only) vinyl edition.

Ok, so what’s it like? It’s everything you’d dare hope for from a Sexual Objects record – rundown glam, budget Bowie, an unreleased pop Brian Eno record, it’s Davy Henderson and his brilliant band delivering the strange news. You want pop, you want scuzz, you want pop scuzz from someone who talks it and walks it with an oddball swagger. Not about to run out of tunes anytime soon, this is the perfect band for Davy Henderson to be fronting at this stage of his career, this is the perfect record for him to be making. Love it.

Yup.  Marshmallow has been completed in 2014, ready for release in January 2015. The idea of the auction was that whoever was the highest bidder would win the rights to the recordings, and it would be their decision to release as many or as few copies of Marshmallow as they chose. In an interview at the time, Henderson said he was thinking of the record as being like a painting with just the one owner, but that owner then having the freedom to do anything they liked, even if the decision was to keep it to themselves with no further public consumption.

But as can be seen from above, there ended up being 300 copies pressed up, on sale for £20 each. I missed out on it, for the simple fact that I wasn’t paying attention. I’d like a copy and just now there is one via Discogs for £55 which is actually well below what it normally goes for, but I’ve decided not to bother as I have got my hands on a digital copy, thanks to it having been, temporarily, available via bandcamp (i think it cost £15 for the download).

One of the songs on the album was also made available as a 10″ single, and I did manage to pick up a copy of that.

mp3: The Sexual Objects – Sometimes

The single came with a few remixes.  Here’s the one that is likely of most interest:-

mp3: The Sexual Objects – Sometimes (Weatherall Dub)

In more recent ears, Davy Henderson has been associated with Port Sulphur, the collective which is co-ordinated and directed by Douglas MacIntyre, the talent and brains behind Creeping Bent Records and who was also a guitarist with each of The Nectarine No9 and The Sexual Objects.

I’ve sat down a few times a tried to pull together a Davy Henderson ICA, but it’s proved an impossible task. But now that just about all of his previous bands have now featured in this long-running series, I can perhaps try and do something covering his entire career, with perhaps no more than two or three songs from each of them. Might be something to do during the short break I’ll be taking from the blog over the festive period.




From a profile in The Guardian newspaper back in November 2009:-

Series: New band of the week : The Sexual Objects (No 669)

With big pop tunes, giant choruses and ace titles, this new group from former Fire Engines singer Davey Henderson is no half-hearted stab at glory.

Hometown: Edinburgh

The lineup: Davey Henderson (vocals, guitar), Ian Holford (drums), Simon Smeeton (guitar), Douglas McIntyre (bass).

The background: It’s nice to see those original Postcard boys, Edwyn Collins and Paul Haig, back in action and on fine form. Roddy Frame has never really been away, so that just leaves the fourth man of early-80s Scottish indie pop, Davey Henderson, to stage a return and we’ve got the full set. Henderson was never on that seminal independent label with his band of the time, Fire Engines, but he was a hugely important figure in that transitional period between post-punk and new pop. In their scratchy, shambling, rhythmically perverse way, Fire Engines’ tracks such as Get Up and Use Me and Candyskin taught white boys how to dance and should have made singer/guitarist Henderson a household name.

Then again, in the minds of some people, he always was as big a superstar as Michael or Madonna, as cute as Bolan with the bite of Rotten, and so when he disbanded Fire Engines to form a groovy, glam outfit called Win claiming to offer “chewing gum for the ears”, a small coterie of admirers continued to hail him as rock’s great unsung hero. When Win failed to match critical acclaim with commercial success, even with sure-fire hits such as You’ve Got the Power, Henderson moved on once more, this time to the jerkily Beefheartian melodramas of Nectarine No 9, who received considerable praise for their eight albums between 1992 and 2004.

Nectarine didn’t sell any more records than Fire Engines or Win, but at least Henderson got the official seal of approval from a new generation of indie-funkers at the time of the band’s dissolution, coinciding as it did with the emergence of Franz Ferdinand – they didn’t just claim Henderson as an influence but actually recorded a double-A-side seven-inch single with a briefly reformed Fire Engines, the Engines covering Franz’s Jacqueline and FF having a bash at Get Up and Use Me.

Henderson could easily have left it at that, having passed the baton on, but something keeps him coming back. So here he is with band number four. The first thing you notice about the Sexual Objects – featuring former members of Win and Nectarine No 9 as well as Creeping Bent label boss Douglas McIntyre – is that, as with Win and Nectarine No 9, this is no half-hearted stab at glory. This is proper stuff: big pop tunes in a T Rex or Bowie/Eno (glam era, not Berlin) vein played on guitar, bass and drums with handclaps and giant choruses and titles that would look fab in neon flashing over Times or Leicester Square: Here Come the Rubber Cops, Full Penetration, Queen City of the Fourth Dimension.

As ever with anything bearing Henderson’s name, the songs are full of references to old pop hits, the performances veer perilously close to collapse while throughout he employs his trademark cheeky louche drawl – an analyst might conclude that he knows his subject too well and almost wants it (the pop success that has constantly eluded him) so badly he sabotages it before it’s had a chance to happen. And yet the music’s so ace, you decide it’s not your problem that Henderson is probably living on state hand-outs while musicians with a tenth his talent are scoffing caviar. There’s freakbeat here, there’s doo wop, there’s narcotic funk that suggests Prince in a drug den with Peter Perrett, there are Velvets/Television drones and the sweetest sugar pop. And to cap it all the Sexual Objects are apparently recording their debut album with electronic dreamers Boards of Canada! Now if they could get Sky Ferreira in to duet with Davey on their next single we really could die happy.

The buzz: “Henderson and Co are still the best rock’n’roll band on this or any other planet.”

The truth: Time to lubricate your living room again.

Most likely to: Achieve full penetration of the pop chart of our dreams.

Least likely to: Become sexual objects.

What to buy: Full Penetration is out now on Creeping Bent. The Sexual Objects play London’s Buffalo Bar on 27 November.

File next to: Win, Bowie, Bolan, early Eno.

mp3 : The Sexual Objects – Merrie England
mp3 : The Sexual Objects – Demonstration

A single from 2007…..