14 October 2008

That Petrol Emotion - Big Decision

That Petrol Emotion - Big Decision

Label: Polydor
Year of Release: 1987


Not even the might of two different major labels could propel That Petrol Emotion into the big time. This - their most successful single, which reached number 42 - was issued on Polydor, and they had shifted over to Virgin by the end of the year who couldn't quite push them in an upwards direction either.

Formed from the ashes of The Undertones and the Derry Hitmakers, Northern Ireland's That Petrol Emotion were another band amongst a long, long line of acts who struggled to gain mainstream recognition at a time when most guitar-based pop was never going to do the business. Unless you were The Smiths, The Cure, The Bunnymen or The Mary Chain, or producing the huff and bluster associated with Simple Minds and U2, you were in for an uphill struggle. Even if you did manage to have one hit, the odds of following it up successfully were seldom strong, as The Primitives will surely tell you.

TPE were also effectively forerunners of a certain type of early nineties noise which would - to their extreme aggravation, I'm sure - fare slightly better for other artists in the new decade. The central riff around which "Big Decision" is built bears an uncanny resemblance to the Wonder Stuff's "Unbearable", a fact Miles Hunt acknowledged with some frustration, claiming never to have heard their song until its release at the time. Sonically they also had a resemblance to numerous other Camden-bothering, long hair-flicking, Lamacq-loved bands who managed a few top thirty hits then got forgotten about by the time Britpop rolled around. None of this would be greatly acknowledged by either A&R rep or music journalist, though, and they began 1993 releasing records on their own label. This is almost always the death knell for any band, and so it proved, until they reformed for some one-off gigs this year.

I doubt TPE will ever be elevated to the levels of respect afforded for the more "authentic", culty indie bands that littered the eighties, but they shouldn't be lightly dismissed either.

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7 comments:

Cocktails said...

In a strange co-incidence, Planet Mondo
http://planetmondo.blogspot.com/2008/10/more-songs-about-chocolate-and-girls.html has just posted an interview with Damian O'Neill who was in the Petrols and the Undertones (which I never knew). You might be interested...

This is a top song which I've long liked. Never heard anything else by them though!

Cocktails said...

And when are you going to post some Senseless Things then?!

Planet Mondo said...

Blow - I'd forgotten all about this tune what a winner - I'll be posting two flavours of Hey Venus next week.

PS Thanks for the linky Cocktails

23 Daves said...

Ah, there are always tons of these coincidences going on in blogworld.

That Petrol Emotion had numerous quality ditties, Cocktails, and I think a great many of them are on YouTube. "Genius Move" used to be one of my favourites, and I've always thought their self-released "Detonate My Dreams" was like the Manic Street Preachers at the time but a lot better. In fact, if I ever do a compilation of lost eighties and nineties indie stuff, that's got to be a prime contender for a track placing.

Don't think I'll be doing a Senseless Things entry though, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me that like chemicrazy? Could anyone post it? Great blog. Thanks.

retroman said...

thats a nice blog. post chemicrazy,please.that petrol emotion is cool.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I agree with that guy: that petrol emotion rocks and chemicrazy is the best they ever made.Up with it.