19 September 2021

The Impossibles - Delphis/ Be My Baby


Psychedelic 90s dancefloor action from lost Edinburgh duo

Label: Fontana
Year of Release: 1991

This isn't the first time we've looked at The Impossibles on "Left and to the Back" - we also pondered their marvellous cover of Slapp Happy's "The Drum" back in 2018. Since that time, however, they've remained a frustratingly elusive pair with no new information about them appearing online at all.

This is an unusual situation. Whenever I write about sixties or seventies bands who never had an LP out, I usually hit a brick wall when trying to uncover the band's future movements; this is only to be expected as their online presence is normally weak. It's deeply strange for a nineties act to be so shy when they realise they have a lot of Internet admirers, though. They're normally among the first to rush forward to reintroduce themselves and talk about a reunion gig they're holding at the Betsy Trotwood in London in 2022. 

Lucy Dallas and Mags Grundy of the Impossibles are obviously exceptions to that general rule, but perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. Even at the time, the small number of press interviews I saw revealed two individuals who were modest and self-effacing, suggesting that they'd only managed to get a major label deal due to connections and a lot of luck. Their sound may have had a Madchester tinge to it, but they certainly weren't taking any of their promotional cues from the Stone Roses. 

That doesn't mean to say that the three singles they put out aren't lost jewels of that era, though, in particular this effort and the final 45 "The Drum". While "The Drum" was an infectious thumping party anthem, "Delphis" is closer to the blissed out psychedelic indie-dance doing the rounds in the early nineties while also partly pointing towards the approaching shoegazing wave. The keyboard and bass lines chop and bounce along as if culled from a lost Happy Mondays demo, but the vocals trill, coo and wail incomprehensibly, creating a single that sounds simultaneously welcoming and introspective. It's one of the few efforts of the era you could comfortably push towards fans of either Slowdive or Northside, and acts as a curious marker of the changing times (it's possibly no coincidence that the B-side of an earlier Impossibles 45 "Privilege" was produced by Kevin Shields).

While straddling the sounds of an emerging musical trend and a current but fading one should have been a deeply canny move - intentional or otherwise - in reality "Delphis" sold poorly and was largely unheard and fairly swiftly forgotten. It managed to obtain a slightly more impressive afterlife than "The Drum" as a result of appearing on the blissed-out Indie compilation "Forever Changing", a marvellous release any student of the psychedelic end of early nineties era should have in their collection. 

I'm not expecting either member of the group to come forward and give us all an update on what they're up to now, but if there's an unreleased album in the vaults - which would seem at least reasonably likely - that would be the cause of some excitement. As things stand, these three distinctly early nineties singles are probably all we'll ever heard from them. 

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