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Baker's Dozen

Reinventions Of The Near Future: James Dean Bradfield's Favourite LPs
Emily Mackay , September 23rd, 2014 08:25

With their Holy Bible shows just announced, the Manic Street Preachers frontman talks Emily Mackay through his all-time favourite albums


Simple Minds - Sons And Fascination
I don't want to sound like a broken fucking record but I've gotta go Simple Minds and Sons And Fascination. I've always picked Empires And Dance, but I keep switching to Sons And Fascination. If I remember rightly it was produced by Steve Hillage, so you could see the direction they were going in: he'd been and gone and was a real mainstay of the 70s prog scene, and it just shows the ambition of this band at that point in time. They'd been Johnny & The Self-Abusers, the quintessential proto-punk band, and then they'd done their first album which is kind of still punk-ish or punk-inspired. And then you realise there's a sea change, where they realise it's not the language they wanna speak. Sons And Fascinations comes after Empires And Dance, and working with Steve Hillage was symbolic of them wanting to explore something in themselves. I think if a posh lad reinvents himself and explores avenues he gets a plaudit for it, but rock & roll history is littered with lots of working class lads that have really reinvented the wheel and reinvented themselves and they've searched for things which should have been out of their reach. And they never get the credit for it. Simple Minds are another band that happened to. This album is full of pure, post-abstract expressionism. 'In Trance As Mission', 'Sweat In Bullet', '70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall', 'Boys From Brazil, 'Love Song'. 'Love Song!' Amongst all that! A fucking amazing white Scottish pop-dance record with an industrial backbone. Not many people achieve that kind of mash-up or fusion in their lives. They were concurrently making Sister Feelings Call at the same time. Another band who got pilloried for being pretentious. But they were working class boys who were just reaching for pretension and saying, "No, we will not be fucking defined by you. This is what we're doing. Go fuck yourselves." I've been listening to Sons And Fascination again, and it's just a crowning, towering achievement for a bunch of working class boys from Glasgow, because they weren't allowed to do it; they weren't supposed to do it. People told them to fuck off and they said, "No, we're gonna do it, and we're gonna do it better than anybody else."