23 August 2017

Drill - Juliet/ Pretty Girl

Label: RCA
Year of Release: 1979

While punk and new wave were often at opposite ends of the spectrum from British psychedelia in 1967, there's a much bigger debate to be had about some of the unacknowledged similarities too. The underground press, counter-cultural activity and the whole idea of the "kids doing it for themselves" were germane to both movements, though eyewitness accounts from 1967 often tend to dismiss that era's anarchy with the simple phrase "A bunch of rich kids pissing around with their parent's money".

Another two things both eras have in common is the fact that bands emerged, released one single or a select clutch of a few singles, then disappeared again - and a great many of the members of the groups would go on to much bigger and better things elsewhere. Take Drill, for example. The Chas Chandler managed group are barely mentioned anywhere these days, but featured the bass player and songwriter Chris Constantinou, who later went on to work with Adam Ant, Anabella Lwin, and Guy Chambers. 

Frustratingly, the details of the rest of their personnel are hard to come by, but this single is a real curiosity. The punk lovesong on the A-side "Juliet" is perhaps not the strongest offering here, being a bit 'boil in the bag punk' in places - there are only so many signposted references to "rebels" with "rings in their noses" you can take before you sigh "Yeah, we get it lads, you're those punks we've heard so much about". 

The B-side "Pretty Girls", however, is where the band get to play with the full sonic palette and end up sounding slightly akin to an XTC-less Barry Andrews doing his best nods to Eno and Talking Heads. It's essentially very yobbish, jerky New Wave, and an experience worth having.

Now, if only I could find their single with a punk cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "If I Could Read Your Mind" on the A-side, my year will be complete. 

The whereabouts of the rest of the group is not known, but Chris remains very active and is presently bass player with The Wolfmen on bass and vocals, and the punk supergroup The Mutants. 


Arthur Nibble said...

On 45Cat, The Toad (purveyor of the bespoke 7tt77's website) says Drill's version of "If I Could Read Your Mind" is mid-tempo power pop. It also has the same B-side as "Juliet".

23 Daves said...

OK, that doesn't sound so interesting. Clearly a very scarce record, though, not even listed on Discogs, it seems.

Reimer said...

I recall this being reviewed in 'Smash Hits' back in the day. Andy Partridge was guest singles reviewer that week. The review read simply "One of them has a moustache".

Takes you back.


Unknown said...

Wondering how i can get copies of the drill stuff ..pretty girls sounded ok after all these years ..would love to hear I CAN'T HELP IT released on Ebony and the CHAS CHANDLER prouduced drill tracks ... Thanks for posting that .. Cheers Chris