Our Friends Electric

I’ve been a little quiet on the Skank front for a spell, so what better way to return to the fold than with an addition to the Dennis Bovell love-in we’ve been enjoying recently?
Today’s pick from the man’s lavish tapestry is a discreet one, though no less
fine for it.

For the unfamiliar, Electric Guitars were a gonzoid gaggle of Bristol University students who splattered the post-punk canvas with some gloriously vivid colours during their brief career. Formed in 1980, gone by 1983, they left us with just a handful of singles, a dodgy Japanese Shell advert and a wardrobe that Duckie from Pretty In Pink would have died for.


Work, the Guitars’ second single, saw Mr. Bovell at the controls, though he apparently lost interest halfway through the project and the group ended up finishing the production themselves. Despite their dissatisfaction with the end result, Work is a cracking record, but it’s the b-side that secured the group’s place on these humble pages.

Don’t Wake The Baby is a frantic electro-dub stomper with an oddly dreamlike quality; synths ebb, flow and echo whilst Bovell’s trademark household objects clamour for attention amidst a cacophony of shrieks, chants and animal noises. Sound good? It bloody is.

Unfair accusations that they’d ripped off the Thompson Twins (with whom they were friends) seemed to dog Electric Guitars, though in reality their sound owes far more to the angular yelps and jerks of early XTC with a dash of Depeche Mode thrown in. If there is any similarity to the Twins, it is more sartorial than musical, and personally I can find little fault with this. Not the most popular stance I’ve ever taken on an issue, I’m sure – now where did I put my policeman’s hat…?

As spectacular as it is vile, the aforementioned Shell advert. Madness, eat your
nutty hearts out…

(Dread Zed)

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