Jane From Ocupied Europe (Swell Maps)
For a while at the end of 1980 this was my best album of all time. It was the perfect mixture of one chord guitar thrash, whiny vocals, underground synth drones and clockwork toys – with the odd moment of sublime pop melody.
On Friday mornings the kids usually come and hang around in my study when they’re supposed to be getting ready for school. But today, with Jane From Occupied Europe on repeat play, they kept their distance. Eventually 10 year old came in and said she’d been listening to it from her bedroom. She told me about two songs she liked (‘Cake SHop Girl’ and ‘Whatever Happens Next…’ I think).
10 year old: I like it. It’s nice and rocky. But the singing is terrible. It’s a bit scary. Do they sing badly on purpose? But this is good. (She was referring to the 8 minute instrumental ‘Collision With a Frogman vs. the Mangrove Delta Plan’ which is like a theme tune for a spooky kids TV series that never got made)
Then she went off downstairs to brush her hair.
At quarter to nine 7 year old came up to say goodbye. I asked him what he thought of Swell Maps.
“It’s cool. It sounds like me playing guitar.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well it’s rubbish guitar playing.”