Writing about music is like dancing about architecture

Friday, 21 January 2011

GIRLS AT OUR BEST! - PLEASURE

There are some records that are just fun. The music is upbeat, simple, catchy, the vocals are cool and perfectly delivered, the lyrics are amusing with the right mixture of real-world observation and political intent. This is one of those records.
Girls at Our Best! also have one of the best names in British rock. Which makes it rather a shame that only one band member, the lead vocalist Judy Evans, was a woman.
Unfortunately Pleasure is their only LP, but like so many groups in the post-punk era they left an enduring, if small legacy.If you are so inclined I would very much recommend you track down their earlier singles, Going Nowhere Fast (later covered by the Wedding Present) which also has one of the most amusing single picture sleeves, Going for Gold and Politics. Strangely the lyrics for all these song can be found on the lyric sheet that comes with the LP.
I love bands with a female lead vocalist, from the Slits, to Prag Vac, to the Au Pairs, to Girls at Our Best! to the Shop Assistants,to the Primitives, to the Sundays. Its partly the challenge to male rock values, partly the great lyrics and partly the pleasure of hearing a beautiful voice rather than a gruff growl, wedded to great rock songs.
Pleasure - the title of this record. The music is a pleasure. Buoyant and upbeat it is music for dancing around to like a loon. Perhaps in a dark room with your friends. Perhaps after a few drinks. Perhaps with someone you fancy. I don't think it takes anything away from the music to say that its very straight forward and simple. There's no post-punk stuttering drums or disco bass-lines or choppy guitars. Instead we get music that reminds me of the Mekons at their best. Even the clarinet solo on Fun City Teenagers is charming. Thomas Dolby also makes an early appearance on synthesisers. And for all you beat hunters out there the runout groove one side 1 has a repeated drum break.
The  lyrics also deal with Pleasure in one form or another, not in a simple hedonistic way, but in a questioning, ironic and slightly wry manner. The main theme of the lyrics is that although the modern world is full of ways to get your pleasure we should be careful as many of these seemingly pleasurable pursuits are in reality ways to dull us, to silence us and prevent us from questioning the world around us. Everyone becomes nothing more than pawns in the system if you only take the pleasures that are offered to you. How much better would it be for us to get our kicks by being different and not conforming? Maybe I'm reading too much into it - what do you think?
Unlike a lot of female fronted C86 bands Girls At Our Best's Judy Evans seems to me to meeting attitude to women head on. There is a political aspect to the lyrics that, while not party political, challenges the status quo.
I was just about to select some songs as highlights but then I realised that I can't - each song is wonderful. A beautiful gem of a record and worth tracking down.
If you want to find out more about them the I reckon this is the place: http://www.girlsatourbest.com/

2 comments:

  1. Damn right you are, excellent band.

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  2. I love girls at our best..

    ReplyDelete