Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lost Pop Gems #26

The Starclub CD was one of literally thousands that passed through my hands during the salad days of music retail. I can't recall why I chose to load this one into the CD player over so many others. Maybe it was the pretty colors on the cover. It certainly wasn't The Beatles' reference Stewart Mason over at AMG mentions below.

First-generation Brit-poppers Starclub should never have named themselves after the Hamburg club where the Beatles made their name. Not only could their fine but not world-beating guitar pop not live up to the reference, but it also created an unrealistic point of comparison, especially for those wanting the second coming of Merseybeat, or at least a second La's album. Singer/guitarist Owen Vyse and guitarist Steve French (oddly, the bassist and drummer aren't identified, although they're shown in photos on the sleeve of the band's sole album, 1993's Starclub) instead favor the rougher side of the '60s, as evinced by name-checking the Pretty Things and British R&B legend Georgie Fame's guest organ on three tracks. The single "Hard to Get" was a minor alternative radio hit, but Starclub split up before a follow-up could be issued. Vyse later became a touring member of the re-formed Echo and the Bunnymen. French moved to New York and became a producer, working with former Gin Blossoms guitarist Robin Wilson's bands the Gas Giants and the Poppin' Wheelies. Two songs meant for Starclub's never-recorded second album ended up on the Poppin' Wheelies' self-titled 2000 debut. 

You know what? After reading that again, it still doesn't strike me that the band was making a reference to the Hamburg club where The Beatles made their bones. I know it's there in the title, but it wasn't my first thought and after listening to the CD, it wasn't a thought at all.

Still, the band's one and only CD has some fine, jangly moments, leaning more towards alt-rock than power pop.

"Call My Name" has made guest appearances on many mixes and remains a lost pop gem and my fave cut on the album.


Anonymous said...

yeah, i remember buying this back in the day on the strength of seeing a vide for "Hard To Get", which it's jangly riff, and that definitely caught my ear....i think that one got a good deal of airplay here in Boston, but for naught I guess! great post and thanks! jim

steve simels said...

That is fricking fantastic.

I'm pretty sure I've never heard another note from those guys -- is any of the rest of their stuff as good?

Sal Nunziato said...

This track sounds like Big Star to me. The rest of the album, not so much, though the single "Hard To Get" was damn good, too.

buzzbabyjesus said...

"Now That's What I Call Bullshit" really began with sorting through the hundreds of cd's I bought from the crates at NYCD, and making compilations out of the good songs found here and there.
I didn't buy this one, and the name would have put me off, not so much for the Beatles reference, but because it was too close to Escape Club and "Wild Wild West".

Anything Should Happen said...

I quite like the album, it's not A List, but it's ok.

Have to admit when I saw the title of the post, I thought it was gonna be a compilation of non Beatles Star Club stuff