People who spent his teenage years we researched the coffee-stained copy of The Catcher In The Rye or Tess of the d'Ubervilles while bitter rueing the fact that not a single girl in our school, college or the workplace has the good sense to see the shy tongue tied nerd sitting beside them, often taking refuge in certain forms of popular music. Rejected and tormented, we lay waste our teenage years in exile from our back bedroom, entertain ourselves there by listening to the fluttering of the indie band that somehow have cornered the market on self-pity gutted and teenage angst. We took a perverse pleasure in the recognition of kindred spirits, as they dutifully praised the trials and tribulations of life without the love that reflects who like our own existence.
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The Smiths, in this case, are beyond comparison, and they have a songwriter Morrissey without equal in miserablist pop ranks. There are other bands, though, that has a lot to say about the problem of unrequited love. The whole genre of indie-pop, whether you call twee, staggered or C-86, after the NME's legendary mix-tape, it really was mired in it. While bands like The Wedding Present (and for me David Gedge is the official spokesman for the legion of boys shy careful who could not muster the courage to front up at night disco Friday) enjoyed a long spell in the limelight, many of their C-86 counterparts simply fade into obscurity. In some cases, no doubt, this is a blessing in disguise. However, bands such as The Servant and Birmingham Mighty Mighty definitely deserves to be more than a footnote in the history of indie-pop.
Pop Can: The Definitive Collection 1986-1988, in Cherry Red, attempt to straighten out. Comprising all Mighty Mighty was excellent singles, B-sides and EPs in addition to choice cuts some of their debut album, the Sharks if underwhelming, with a few songs from the 'missing' second album The Betamax Tapes (eventually released in 2013), pop Can certainly does what it says on the tin, gathered together the best moments of this short combo.
This album, while not arranged in chronological order, would kick off with the debut single "Everybody Knows Monkey" jittery affair that set the tone (Orange Juice and a pinch of vox organ), for foaming contents Pop Can. The other important side of one including a souped up single "Built Like a Car", which reached no. 6 on the Independent Chart, their highest ranking business, and very interesting to follow up, "Laws". Fortunately the C-86 version that appears here, rather than "dance remix of" low Bab released at the end of 1987 12inch
Side two begins with "Is There Anyone Out There for Me", which may keep the song famous band, reaching no. 44 in John Peel holy festive fifty in 1986. It is also the surprising Mighty Mighty songs appear in the definitive compilation Cherry Red, Scared To Get Happy, The Story of Indie Music 1980-1989. This track offers a terrifically effervescent chorus which also captures the brutality of a lonely teenager, with Hugh McGuinness haplessly pleading true love come her way
'Is there anyone out there for me, is anyone else lonely / I can not stand another heat if only'.
Other stand-outs on both sides of "Let's Call It Love", and a couple of songs from The Betamax Tapes; "Touch the Sun" and particularly "shaky" which brings to mind the literacy / sophisticated pop of Lloyd Cole or Prefab Sprout. While lyricist Mick Geoghegan may not quite rank alongside Cole or Paddy McAloon, "wobbly" not signpost towards a more mature this band will surely have traveled, had they continued -
'Do you remember that letter I / When I changed my mind every row / Now I'm sure, would you patronize / introduced, as a wobbly my boyfriend'.
Rather strangely, Mighty Mighty posthumous continue the success seen in Japan, whil