Burning Badgers Vinyl 6: Too Sussed?  – These Animal Men (1994) (Virgin/Hut Records)

by JC

There’s always a risk when a friend asks you to pick a number….especially when it involves a lucky dip for a piece of vinyl.

I chose #4.  SWC came back and said it was a piece of vinyl called Too Sussed? by These Animal Men.  He also said it was a 5-track EP and would therefore fit in nicely to a run of pieces on EPs that were kept by Tim Badger when it was thought he had sold all of his vinyl.

As it turns out, Discogs has Too Sussed? as an LP and not an EP, albeit it only has five-tracks.  Wikipedia has it as an EP.   I turned to the UK Offical Charts where the piece of vinyl is down in history as coming in at #39, on 2 July 1994, in the album charts,  dropping down to #66 the following week before disappearing from view altogether. It had five tracks on it, and so while it might have been pitched and possibly priced as an EP, the rules of the day that restricted EPs to a maximum of four tracks, would be the reason it went into the albums chart and not the singles chart.

These Animal Men haven’t featured on the blog before for three reasons.  One being that I don’t have any of their stuff and the second being that I think they’re shit.  The third reason is that nobody has previously offered up a guest posting, and if they had done, then reasons one and two become redundant.

TAM, as they will now be referred to from here on in, were, (and the rest of this para is lifted from allmusic), quickly tossed into the “new wave of new wave” revolution, a music scene created mainly by the U.K. press to help publicize a number of young pop-punk revivalists in England circa 1994. Formed in 1993 in Brighton, England, TAM wasted no time in shocking the masses. The group’s first single, “Speeed King,” was a high-octane tribute to amphetamines; the cover even showed a bowl of suspicious white powder and a couple of straws. Comprised of Julian Hewings (vocals, guitar), Patrick Murray (bass), Alex Boag (guitar, vocals), and Stevie Hussey (drums), TAM capitalized on widespread tabloid rumors of the band consisting of drug-addicted bad boys. The banned “Speeed King” even landed them on the legendary Top of the Pops show (on 30 June 1995 as part of the promo efforts for the Too Sussed? EP/LP)

Back to all music….

However, when These Animal Men released their debut album, (Come on Join) The High Society, Oasis had just unleashed Definitely Maybe into a stagnant rock & roll market searching for the Next Big Thing after the death of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. Oasis brought guitar pop back onto the British charts and showed the world that England was worth listening to again. The “new wave of new wave” movement was left in the dust, taking These Animal Men and their sordid tales of drugs, booze, and masturbation with them. The group recorded another full-length, Accident & Emergency, and then split up quietly in 1997. Hewings and Boag reunited in Mo Solid Gold.

The TOTP clip is all you need to realise that TAM were all hype and no substance.

#4 was a bad call on my part. Tim Badger’s taste, it is comforting to learn, was far from impeccable.

mp3: These Animal Men – Too Sussed
mp3: These Animal Men – Speeed King
mp3: These Animal Men – Jobs For The Boys
mp3: These Animal Men – Who’s The Daddy Now?
mp3: These Animal Men – You’re Not My Babylon

Oh, and this should be a good test of the point made the other day by anonymous on how we, as a community, tend to react to a piece of music that splits opinion. There’s a PS today……..


SWC adds…….

I have a theory about some of these records in Badgers Box. Some of them I think contain songs that the band Tim was in used to cover from time to time, which is why he might have owned this record. I know that they did a cover of ‘You’re Not My Babylon’ because he told me that once.

Then again, there is a pile of CDs as well and the eighth disc in that pile is the album ‘(Come on) Join The High Society’ by These Animal Men  I listened to that this morning in the car and it’s worse than this EP.

So Badger might have been a closet fan. If he was, he kept it very quiet because TAM were one of those bands that we used to purposely slag off on our old blog. In fact they were on the ‘banned bands list’ alongside such luminaries as Jesus Jones, Molly Half Head, and Knobheads. Bands that we promised to never post any music by, as they were so dreadful.

The exception to the ‘shit ruling’ is track five above, “You’re Not My Babylon”. That is an indie-pop gem. It’s a blistering few minutes of garage racket pop dedicated to John Dillinger. If all their tracks sounded like that, they would have been household names and we’d been on to our third ICA celebrating their work by now. Sadly the rest of their music is about as pleasing as walking on Lego in bare feet and finding a dog turd in the fridge.

TAM split in 1998, they formed various other bands after that, none of which really achieved much. I have no idea what they are doing now. I read somewhere that that chap who called himself ‘Hooligan’ was working as a geography teacher. I think that might be bollocks though.

The only other thing about this band that I think is worthy of raising is that one of the band was a child actor who appeared in Time Bandits, which I happen to think is a great film.