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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


Brian Eno - Another Green World
I started getting Eno records whenever I saw them. They were very easy to find and I would get them in charity shops or car-boot sales. Gradually, I would get nicer copies. Some of his stuff was quite punky, kind of pop songs with electronic elements. I really liked his voice and the lyrics. I got Another Green World in Dublin one time when we were DJing and it is a perfect record. I like the idea of these gorgeous instrumentals placed next to really odd pop songs. It has a real sense of chance-taking and even though he obviously had a nice budget for the record – there are good musicians and it was recorded in a good studio – I can imagine that he might have been quite spontaneous and of the moment. I love the familiarity of some of the music – the title track was used on the BBC programme Arena and I was always aware of that. But, as a totality, it is a really well-conceived record. It’s perfect.

I believe this album used the Eno-inspired idea of Oblique Strategies to encourage lateral thinking? Have you ever tried using the cards?

It’s a fantastically wild idea to pull something apart and then doing the exact opposite of what you are thinking. My friend Norman [Blake of Teenage Fanclub], who played with The Pastels for a while and played a little bit on the new record, was quite into it [Oblique Strategies] for a while. Sometimes when you are trying to place an album in order and work out the narrative of a record, you can put on something that absolutely won’t work just to break a flow and do the opposite. I think Eno has brought so many ideas to music over the past nearly 40 years and I think he is such an important artist. He can seem a wee bit omnipresent in the sense he can be taken a little bit for granted but I continue to find him really interesting. I like the new record he made as well.