2 March 2016

Spangs - Frightened of the Night/ Safe In My Room

Label: RCA
Year of Release: 1980

Spangs are yet another band to add to the never-ending list of New Wave/ synth-pop acts who sneaked out a couple of singles early in the eighties but never released a full length LP. "Frightened of the Night" is, as its title suggests, a paranoid, wiry, edgy kind of effort, thick with a cold and foreboding atmosphere but not short on hooks. 

Released once on the independent Carno records before being picked up again by RCA, the added clout of a major label's promotion and distribution sadly did little extra for the record, and it failed to chart again. Once the follow-up "Who Invited You Anyway" was also ignored in 1981, the band were seemingly dropped and the game was over.

While Spangs might not be a name that's on the tip of anyone's tongue apart from the most hardcore New Wave collectors, some of the band's members did continue to appear on other records. Guitarist Mark Strobel and keyboard player Steve Bull joined the China Records signed The Name in the late eighties, who managed to drop two more albums into the world than Spangs.  Bass player Bernie Davis would also later go on to work with Alabama 3. 

The whereabouts of the lead vocalist Chris Spencer and drummer Dave Rice, however, are a little less clear. Discogs seems to suggest that Spencer became the frontman for American noise-rockers Unsane, but that smacks suspiciously of a database error - I strongly suspect he's an entirely different individual.

Whatever the full facts, "Frightened of the Night" is starting to pick up some attention among collectors of early eighties pop, and that's hardly surprising. Containing many of the era's melodic tropes which would later be utilised and used by the 21st Century Shoreditch cool kids with silly haircuts, it manages to be simultaneously of it's time and also faintly ahead of its time. 


VanceMan said...

A perfectly nice little single but I can't imagine why they settled on "Spangs" as a name. It just makes me think of music journalists sitting around trying to think of bad puns they can use with the word "Spangs." (Well, I guess if they were an Internet start-up today, they'd be called "Spango.")

23 Daves said...

It's also the noise a cheap plastic football makes when you kick it up an alley. I know this from years of childhood experience.


Doubt that's where they got the name from, though.

Unknown said...

I know where Chris Spencer is, he's sitting in my living room watching football. He's my uncle

Unknown said...

I know where Chris Spencer is, he's sitting in my living room watching football. He's my uncle