Thursday, November 12, 2009

Noughties By Nature #47: The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - Morning Has Broken

Somewhere between the guitar-orientated music press hype for The Strokes and The Vines - chronologically this is, not stylistically - came No Name, a movement of bands so disparate that even its title - literally The Scene With No Name - heavily implied that the journalists desperate to liken them couldn't be bothered to find a unifying feature of the bands involved. Unusually for such a broad umbrella term, most of the bands stuck under it were remarkably good tunesmiths, even those most derivatively taking advantage of the recent garage revival (hello Hoggboy, M.A.S.S., thisGIRL). The catalyst for the whole thing seemed to be a UK tour of toilet venues with the sterling line-up as follows: in the naughty corner, ready to gob into your pint, Portugese Damned-indebted badboys The Parkinsons; in the charity shop corner, ready to bedazzle, astoundingly taut Fall-loving noiseniks Ikara Colt; and, in the evil corner, in the car they got their name from, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster.

So keen were NME at the time to shoehorn in any reference to the New York quintet as possible, TEMBD were once declared to be like "the Strokes in a cement mixer". However, with the onslaught of their first single Morning Has Broken there was evidently much darker forces at work, bubbling as it did with the sort of gothic swamp-rock that made The Cramps look like Teletubbies and felt as if it would induce frothing at the mouth if performed a second longer. When Guy McKnight - later reduced to a punchline in The Mighty Boosh, but still to this day an awe-inspiring frontman - garbled from the darkness "He was born on Christmas Day/He's going to get you whether you like it or not", you really did wonder whether Jesus was going to spear you through the heart. The incomprehensible B-side Alex made a much more flabbergasted impression, but Morning Has Broken was the perfect appetiser for Horse Of The Dog and remains the peak of 21st century psychobilly.
Thomas Blatchford

[Album: Horse Of The Dog]

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