A horrible hack

The Popguns

Love Junky

Year Released: 2014
Format: 7"
Label: Matinee Recordings
Reviewed by MH on Nov 9, 2014
I can actually pinpoint the very first time I heard The Popguns. Maybe not to the exact day but I have memories of it. It was on John Peel in 1990-something. Maybe 1991. I used to have a tape ready to record songs and if he mentioned the next track and it sounded interesting I'd have to react quickly to record it. I'd sometimes miss the start and I'd often get part of his talking over the beginning or end of the song. He introduced the next song as "Where Do You Go?" by The Popguns and I clicked the record button. Actually, I clicked both play and record as that was the way to record onto a tape on my old midi-system. I can still remember the sound of his voice just after it ended as it was there on the tape every time I listened to it and I used the tape on multiple paper rounds. I don't know what happened to the tape - maybe my car stereo ate it up sometime in the late 90s. Maybe I threw it out last year when I moved to Australia and realised I had most of the songs on the computer so old tapes wouldn't get much play anymore especially as my old midi-system had just kicked the bucket too. It used to be hard work finding music in those days as there was no internet and most kids I knew liked heavy metal and thought indie music was for massive wimps so weren't about to give me tips about any indie bands. The radio was hugely important in finding new music in those days and there weren't many places where you might find something different so John Peel's radio show was ideal.

A few weeks after hearing them for the first time, I got to see The Popguns live. I reckon it was in the first ten gigs I ever saw - right at the time that I was first getting excited about music and bands. They played first at ULU with The Frank and Walters and The Cardiacs. I hadn't really heard The Cardiacs before apart from this one song on the same tape that I'd also taped off John Peel. It was called "Is This The Life". I loved that song but it was the only one I knew and when I watched them I really didn't get them. The songs were all stop-starty and everyone seemed old to a 15 year old (the band had formed in 1977!) and they had this kind of cult status - everyone seemed to know the words apart from me and my friend Dan. I did get into them later though and bought a tape called "A Little Man A House And The Whole World Window". I know where that tape is - it's downstairs on a bookshelf as one of a few old tapes I still have from that time as most of the time I bought records. When The Popguns had played that night the place was just starting to fill up. We stood near the stage. It was good. Wendy's voice sounded amazing. They played all the hits. They even played "Where Do You Go?". Anyway, fast forward 20-something years and The Popguns are active again. They have a new single. It's good, it's really good. It sounds like it could have been on "Snog". It's melancholy and full of lovely harmonies, and as good as any of their best songs. Wendy's vocals still sound great and it's lyrically full of that wistful nostalgia that I always associated with The Popguns. The other two tracks are again laced with melancholy - a little less catchy but still a fine pair of songs. The Popguns haven't really changed despite the years that have gone by. Welcome back.

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