A Different High, Even, I Wish I'd Never Met You, Incorporated, Legendary Lovers, Make You Cry, Never Come Back, Seconds, Splitsville, The Dogs, The Fresh and Onlys, The Sighs, Waterfall, What Goes On
So many would-be hits have ended up in the equivalent of a rock and roll wasteland: the cut-out bargain bin, unheard and/or underappreciated. What if those great tracks could be resurrected in a different time to more appreciative ears? Today’s time capsule top five gathers up a number of strong singles that deserve another crack at the hit parade.
The Dogs were a French punky new wave band, particularly active recording-wise from the late 1970s to late 1980s. Like Elvis Costello, they evolved from pub rock into something harder, taking punk’s influence to sharpen their basic rough-edged rock and roll sound on albums one and two before attempting a more commercial breakthrough on a record number three, Too Much Class for the Neighbourhood. By contrast, their fourth album, 1983’s Legendary Lovers, represented a return to some of their earlier rough edges, ably demonstrated on the fantastic single, “Never Come Back.” This is an uber cool sound – check out the ringing guitars and the heavily French-accented English pronunciation. By all accounts The Dogs were a legendary live band, something that really seems obvious from the evident and palpable excitement oozing from this recording. Never Come Back
The number of bands whose albums got lost in the various record label merger and acquisitions that took place throughout the 1990s would include The Sighs. Originally signed to Charisma/Virgin, their 1992 debut What Goes On failed to excite EMI, the new owners, who let it stall with lacklustre promotion. The band’s second album four years later also failed to take off. And that is shame. Just listen to “Make You Cry” with its jangly opening and incredibly catchy chorus, the latter featuring a stunning harmony vocal. When I first heard the band hit the “he’ll make you cry” line it literally stopped me in my tracks. This should have been a break out hit single.Make You Cry
Even’s “Seconds” is an amazing 1960s-inspired single from their 2001 album A Different High. Well, actually, it wasn’t the official single, but this scribe thinks it should have been. The hypnotic hooky lead line, the super Beatles’ Rubber Soul-era vocals, the overall chimey-ness of the sound – surely this says hit material. Perhaps things could have turned out different for Even, an Australian outfit perennially at the top of the critics’ lists but not the charts, if this had been the official 45 shipped to radio? I know, probably not. But it remains at the top of the Poprock Record charts. Actually, a great deal of Even’s catalogue is in high rotation around here. This tune is just the tip of a great songcraft iceberg. You really can’t go wrong with any of their six albums and three EPs.Seconds
The sibling two-thirds of Greenberry Woods split off to form Splitsville in the late 1990s, eventually releasing five albums between 1997 and 2003. For a band with that much material, they leave a surprisingly light imprint on the ole internet. Influences abound on their music – Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet, as well as all the usual 1960s suspects (e.g. Beatles, Beach Boys, etc.). “I Wish I’d Never Met You” is from their last album, Incorporated, and it is definitely channeling a bittersweet Teenage Fanclub feel both musically and lyrically.I Wish I’d Never Met You
A quick listen of “Waterfall” from San Francisco’s The Fresh and Onlys might have you scratching your head at descriptions of their sound as garage rock. Garage pop maybe. Sure the vocals hover with that distinctly sixties garage rock ambience but the guitars are wonderfully melodic, both the rumbly one that anchors the versus and the more buoyant one that anticipates and rides through the chorus. Aptly named, “Waterfall” it’s a song that rushes over you in a most pleasant way.