16 January 2010

Lavender Faction - Four Riffs for Joe EP

Lavender Faction - Four Riffs for Joe EP

Label: Lust
Year of Release: 1991

I found this particular EP retailing for 25 pence in a junk shop near my house. At the time of the discovery, I had no idea that the Lavender Faction were actually salivated over by various indie kids and shoegazer types on the world wide web, and nor, in fact, did I have any notion of who they were, although the blurry black and white sleeve with matt finish seemed to hint at something decidedly lo-fi.

The early nineties were a peculiar period of time for guitar-based music in Britain. In these scrubbed, polished and Adobe Photoshopped times, it feels quite absurd to talk about a slither of history which involved the heavy promotion of lots of long-haired, slightly greasy looking youths creating droning, effects laden atmospheric rock. As in every music scene imaginable, the "Shoegazing" or "Dream Pop" (as the Americans seemed to prefer to call it) movement attracted chancers and hucksters who should never have left their parent's garages. Chapterhouse and Revolver spring immediately to mind, although at least Chapterhouse had the decency to write one really good single ("Pearl"). Then, below the giants like Ride and My Bloody Valentine, and beneath the cult heroes, lay the bands signed to tiny local labels releasing very rough and ready material - and these have largely slid down the back of the messy, hot-rock charred sofa of early nineties indie history. I mean, who amongst you remembers The Apple Creation? Hands up?

The Lavender Faction were one similar such act from Durham whose "Four Riffs for Joe" EP is so under-produced as to sound close in studio style to that other muddy mess "Kaleidoscope" by the Boo Radleys. The vocals are buried deep in the mix, the guitars sound messy and distorted, and the whole package would make Joe Meek weep. Three decades after he realised the possibilities of home recording, bands were still going into actual studios and managing to walk out with something that almost sounded like it was made on a Fostex Four-track multiplayer with all the led lights screaming into the red. Beneath the mud, however, lie some tunes which with a more sympathetic treatment might have made more of an impression. Originality clearly wasn't the band's strong point and they definitely sound "of the time" - but then so do the vast majority of the bands on this site. I'm also far from being the first person to blog about them, which would suggest that they're having a mini-renaissance at the moment thanks to the Internet.

You can read an interview with Geoff Suggest of the band here, who reveals more about their history and eventual demise.


1. Crawl Down
2. Total Change
3. Haze
4. Was it You


Anonymous said...

Hey, I remember Apple Creation!

"Gift Horse" is a great piece of 80s psych! Been looking forever for their first EP. If you have it, please post!


23 Daves said...

I don't, I'm afraid - but I did see Apple Creation live twice, and thought they were good. If anyone has their EP, or indeed the subequent single they issued on Stuf records, I'd be interested to hear it as well.

Sorry to disappoint you.

Anonymous said...

Re: Apple Creation

Do you have any info on this group?
Names, history, pics, a website etc.

All my searches so far have been in vain. The inlay card with the "Gift Horse" CD has no information whatsoever, other than songwriting credits.


23 Daves said...

Sorry Kalle, I know next to nothing.

They did issue a single on Stuf Records in Southend, which was owned by Foreheads in a Fishtank mostly as a going concern for their own recordings. I suspect the bands may have been friends.

Also, they used to gig a lot in Southend and Chelmsford, so I suspect that they were based in Essex. You could do a bit of detective work based on the above, but it's all I really know.

Pantera Rosa said...

I do have this EP actually - and mighty good it is too.

Big, swirly guitar hooks and catchy melodies, sort of like The Monkees on amphetamines!

There was another similar band at the time called The Seaside... in fact, thinking about it, there were a fair few similar bands!! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi 23 Daves,

Was wondering if you'd be kind enough to re-up this. I own the In My Mind single but had no joy in tracking this down.

Lovin' the blog btw.

All the best!

23 Daves said...

Done! These links all seem to be disappearing at once - makes no sense, I really can't imagine anyone put in a copyright violation complaint on this one.

Anonymous said...

Much appreciated! I can't imagine so, they're great stuff though.

I'll be continuing to follow the blog in earnest.

Keep well!

Anonymous said...

Apple creation
Simon Mortimer
Andy McKay
Johnny Nightingale
I worked with the first 3 at "Our Price" can't remember the other guys name.

23 Daves said...

Excellent, thanks for the information - now, a big request -does anyone have any audio of their records?