2 April 2017

Those Naughty Lumps - Down At The Zoo (EP)

Label: Open Eye
Year of Release: 1980

Ah, Those Naughty Lumps. They were in an unfortunate situation in the late seventies. The Liverpool Punk scene ignited with all manner of legendary artists from The Teardrop Explodes to Echo & The Bunnymen to Wah! (and, over time, even the also-rans of the era would  eventually find success in the mid-eighties). Those Naughty Lumps, though, had a silly name, were given merely a passing mention in Julian Cope's excellent biography about the era "Head On", and became a group who had very little following or clout outside their home city.

Consisting of PM Hart on vocals, Bream on guitar, Kev Wilkinson on drums, Martin Cooper on bass and vocals and Bobby Carr on guitar, they were often a terribly flippant, jokey group, as witnessed on their most famous debut single, the enjoyably ridiculous "Iggy Pop's Jacket". Legends are seldom made out of groups who create such things, and despite being the second group to issue a single on the famous Zoo Records, they've been largely sidelined in overviews of the scene since.

This EP appears to have been recorded in 1978 but only released in 1980, giving the impression that it was possibly put together for a Zoo Records release which ended up being rejected or shelved. The fact that Bill Drummond gets a songwriting credit for the title track is a hint towards this - and it's probably one of the most obscure contributions he's made to music. Don't expect lightning bolts or revelations of lost genius, though. Most of the EP consists of jerky, spindly, DIY new wave sounds which were incredibly common at the time, and while some of these tracks are good, the band possibly lacked a strong identity of their own. For my money, "Love Is A Reflex" is the strongest track, with its early Teardrops styled keyboards and garage pop melodies.

1 comment:

PMHart said...

The EO 'Down at the Zoo' was recorded at Open Eye after 'Iggy Pop's Jacket' which was recorded with a partial pick-up band as the first version of the Lumps had imploded - and after we had left Zoo. I wrote 'Down at the Zoo' with Bill when we were thinking of forming a musical partnership. Sadly I lacked either the commitment or talent! The EP was recorded by the second version of the Lumps in 1980 (as detailed in blog) and released the same year. The label has the date wrong! It sold no copies at all as we had broken up and formed the third version of the Lumps with Dave Cadwallader (Bass), Bream and Dave Hoatson (Guitars) and of course Kev Wilkinson on drums. by then. We broke up for good as the student element finally moved away from Liverpool. Since 2014 we have reformed with a great new line-up: myself (vocals), Kev Wilkinson (Drums), Andy Reeves and Tony Mitchell (Guitars) Lewis McWilliam (Bass) and Dave Toller (Sax). Our album Not Quite Ten is here:
Cheers, Pete Hart