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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Popguns - Eugenie

Name: (the) Popguns
Album: Eugenie
Year: 1990
Style: Jangle Pop, College Radio, Twee
Similar Bands: Darling Buds, Transvision Vamp, Wedding Present, Camera Obscura, Talulah Gosh, Primitives, Standard Fare, Essex Green, U2
One Word Review: Pleasantly Energizing Pop
Based Out Of: Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Label: Midnight Music
 Eugenie - Cover & Record
Eugenie - Back & Record
Eugenie (1990)
Landslide 2:58
Down on Your Knees 3:31
Leave it Alone 2:46
Waiting for the Winter 3:15
Every Dream 3:27/
Because He Wanted to 4:28
Someone You Love 4:14
Those Other Things 4:26
Don't Smile 3:19

Album Review (1-10): 9.5

Members & Other Bands:
Wendy Morgan - Vox (Perfect English Weather, Roman Jugg)
Simon Pickles - Guitar (Perfect English Weather)
Greg Dixon - Guitar
Pat Walkington - Bass (Jason Smart)
Shaun Charman - Drums (Wedding Present, The Fireworks)
Andy Parker - Engineering
Terry Popple - Engineering
Nick Ralph - Remixing
Brad Grisdale - Engineer
Mike Marsh - Mastering

Unknowness: I've never heard of the Popguns. Picked this up in an Oxfam charity shop in London. I don't usually buy a 1990 album, but there was slim pickings, and for a pound, it was worth a shot. Although, the clean design lends itself to a guess of jazz. This might be just that- new age jazz (looking at the tree on the cover) and the info organization on the back does not lead one to imagine it to be a pop album, despite the band name.

Album Review: The Popguns released a new album with a new drummer in 2014, and as of this writing, Dec 2016, are still playing shows. Most of their material is streaming for free on their bandcamp page, too. The biggest name came from their original drummer, who was the first drummer (fired) from the Wedding Present. Although they got together in 1986, this 1990 album is their official debut, with a couple of singles preceding it. This is exactly the sort of album I was hoping to discover when browsing the charity shops in London.
“Landslide” was their first single. The song starts off with a nice jangle pop sound, and a simple catchy hook. Female vocals, occasionally harmonized. It is very pleasant pop with lots of hooks and la-la-la’s.
“Down on Your Knees” starts out a little hesitant, but eventually drives forward with fun, bouncy and jangly pop pace. It seems like this could just as easily been a single as “Landslide.”
“Leave it Alone” again starts off with a basic, yet fulfilling jangle pop sound. Twee, uplifting and still driving music with vocals that sing their own melody, only tied to the music melody with the most fleeting connections.
“Waiting for the Winter” was their biggest hit. And from the first few notes, you can see why, it is another simple, crisp song with clearly defined chords and energetic vocals, and a basic structure designed to not fail. The verse is a looping jangly guitar with power, anthemic chords in support. The melody is playful the entire time. The end has layers of vocal melodies, all guiding the song to the end.
“Every Dream” is lighter, and dreamy plus shoegazey. Reminds me of the Philly band Mercury Girls. The dual female vocals, teaming up in the chorus and doing their own thing in the verse is very well executed.

“Because He Wanted to” rings out in the beginning in an energetic loop with (redundantly) jangly guitars and a bit of fuzz. The superb chorus is a catchy release of energy that the verse and tempo builds up to.
“Someone You Love” was also a single. It rings into play with a U2 like chord progression, But the female vocals are immediately bright and cheerful, unlike any U2 song. The verse is better and catchier than the chorus, which is kind of a glossed-over, held-breath melody.
“Those Other Things” fades up with a jamming, jangly, driving riff. As the vocals begin, it sounds like a less shiny & poppy Go-Go’s. The vocals are just a touch jittery, but still present a great independent melody.
“Don't Smile” begins with a bass line, and a gently fuzzy guitar, reminding me a little of Belly. The vocals could pierce through any noise, and sing a delightful melody that rises and falls in a playful manner. By the end of the song, to break up the repetition, the second female vocals shadow the lead in an almost in the round style.

Standout Track: Waiting for the Winter


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