Tuesday 29 December 2009

Circle Line

"This is swinging London town. Hanging on to iron bars. We swing, we swing, we swing like apes ... going round ..." sings Carmel on her lovely early '90s song about the "no smile, no time Circle Line". Carmel the singer and Carmel the group are ridiculously underrated national treasures. Look in books by Simon Reynolds and Michael Bracewell, for example, and you will see Carmel dismissed with lazy, ignorant one-liners which perpetuate superficial stereotypes, ignore the fact Carmel's worked with the likes of Mike Thorne and Eno, and suggest a lack of familiarity with the group's roots in Bee Vamp. Oh the arrival of Carmel on to the pop scene in 1982 was astonishing. We all fell desperately in love with her in that vintage new bohemian summer, along with the Pale Fountains, Weekend and Vic Godard's Songs For Sale. No more rock 'n' roll for us, we swore. And Carmel's Storm was one of the greatest arrivals of all time, and in my view they've never let us down even when we weren't listening. The flipside of Storm, appropriately, was I Can't Stand The Rain ...

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