Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Promise Kept

This one goes out to Dearest Colin of And Before The First Kiss, along with an apology for tardiness. You see, Colin was my first real cyberfriend, and he remains a shining example of blogging at its best. About a year ago, we had a brief comment exchange about Bleach, a lovely band from Ipswich that lasted only a few years in the early nineties. I promised to rescue my vinyl copy of their self-titled compilation EP from the basement of my New York childhood home and digitize a few tracks for Colin's (and my) benefit. Alas, for all my good intentions, one thing happened, then another, then something else, and the record, now sitting in Vancouver, remained unripped.

Oh, the guilt.

But this weekend, miracle of miracles, the planets aligned. Having only just managed to coax my ancient record player back to life (aside: have any of you ever crimped a stylus cartridge with your teeth?), I cleaned up the EP and got a-ripping.

Let me fill the rest of you in on the group, which shouldn't be confused with either the Japanese girlie punk combo or the American Christian rock band which share their name. Bleach was formed in 1989 by brothers Nick and Neil Singleton. Steve Scott joined on drums, and Anglian TV researcher Salli Carson was enticed onto vocal duties. Their layered sound was dominated by a swirl of fuzzy guitars mixed with stark, jerky post-punk spikes. It was lovely stuff, complemented by Salli's voice, which ranged from the strident to the ethereal. My introduction to them one dark night while listening to the late, great John Peel.

Initially celebrated by press and punters alike, Bleach soon became a problem. Were they shoegaze? Kinda, but they're a bit too brash. Were they grunge? No way, too much gauze and not enough flannel. Britpop? You're having a larf. Salli was accused of being a sex symbol, and she responded by shaving her head. Their EPs were followed by a full-length album in 1992, but it was a bit of a disappoinment. They subsequently faded rapidly from view, though Salli's voice did resurface on Idlewild's 1999 album Hope is Important (and it IS, you know??).

So here you go, Dearest Colin, as I promised all that time ago, four Bleach tracks, including the one I think you liked the best, 'Dipping,' and my favourite, the storming 'Wipe It Away.' And I'm very, very, very sorry for the delay.

P.S. All the rest of you lovely folk can download and listen to them too.

Bleach - Dipping
Bleach - Bethesda
Bleach - Wipe It Away
Bleach - Burn

All tracks can be found either on Bleach's eponymous compilation EP, or between 1990's Eclipse and 1991's Snag. But easy to find they are not...