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Baker's Dozen

Chance-Taking: Stephen McRobbie Of The Pastels' Favourite Albums
John Freeman , June 3rd, 2013 08:53

With The Pastels releasing their first album in 16 years last week, original member Stephen McRobbie reveals the 13 albums that “defined his taste” and inspired his band


Movietone - The Sand And The Stars
Movietone were this group from Bristol, who probably still exist – they are a little slow motion like The Pastels. We toured with them quite a lot and always tried to get them to play with us. We just really loved their style – it’s such a natural way of playing music, which is really particular to them. A lot of it stemmed from Kate Wright’s way of playing rhythm guitar. They had a strange, almost spindly, jazz style, which was slightly awkward and really brilliant.   For me, I just think that Movietone are one of the great unknown English groups, who were so obscure compared to what they should be. They have such a particular personal style and a lot of that style reflects Bristol, which is a fantastic city. They way they communicate with each other onstage, with an almost specific language, is so fantastic. Even the song titles were so evocative – ‘The Blossom Filled Trees’, ‘In Mexico’ or ‘Snow Is Falling’ – and I think Movietone is a whole world that I can easily immerse myself in. Everyone in The Pastels really loves Movietone and we have a really strong connection with them. Whenever we played in Bristol we felt the vibe was similar to Glasgow. I only wish they would make more records.   The Sand And The Stars is their most recent record, it came out in 2003, and they recorded a lot of it on a beach in Cornwall. They lugged all their gear down this difficult walkway to the beach and played. The beach is quite near St Ives so it is right down in the corner of the country. To me, the album has got that wild landscape – it’s not polite music, it is really rugged and enchanted. So, I really love this group and thought it was the absolute best music on Domino. Geographic reissued their first record, which had originally come out on a cool Bristol label called Planet, who also did records by Flying Saucer Attack and Crescent. It was a real privilege to do that.