Thursday, 17 March 2011

29: Strawberry Switchblade, “Since Yesterday” (no.5, 1984)

It’s remarkable how small the world of great one-hit wonders is, once you put it under the microscope; it’s as though only a handful of individuals have truly grasped what it is to make timeless one-off hits. (Call them The Timelords, if you will.) This still-adorable slice of heartfelt and - in every sense - dottily idiosyncratic Scots pop forms the missing link between Postcard Records (the Caledonian indie label who gave the world Orange Juice and Aztec Camera) and Bis; indeed, “the Switchblade”, as I’m sure almost no-one referred to them at the time, were once signed to the former, before falling under the managerial hand of none other than - yes, him again - Bill Drummond, in another of his pre-KLF guises. (The band’s name derived from the title of an Orange Juice fanzine.)

Even back in 1984, “Since Yesterday” sounded like a song acutely aware of the melancholy effects of listening to the music of one’s formative years; 26 - yes, 26 - years on, it sounds no less heart-rending beneath its deliciously sugary top-layer. Success came at a price for the group: landed with a huge tax bill after the success of the single, Strawberries Ann Bryson and Rose McDowell were obliged to return to the studio to record more tracks for the Japanese market - where, inevitably, their distinctive handmade costuming had attracted the greatest attention - before going their separate ways to pursue careers in music and, natch, fashion design.

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