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Baker's Dozen

Call The Police! - Terry Bickers' Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , September 6th, 2017 15:25

One of 80s indie's defining guitarists talks us through his 13 albums – and risks the ire of purists everywhere by insisting that sometimes compilations are best

Music is as much about time and place as it is the combination of notes, chords and melodies. Ask any of the bands whose music lays strewn across the highway of rock & roll history, not because of a lack of talent or strong material, but thanks to zeitgeist-sized juggernauts that crush all before them. Or you can level your enquiry to specific bands, such as Adorable or The House Of Love. Both bands were signed at different time to Alan McGee's Creation Records, both bands released strong debut albums and both bands attracted dedicated followings yet a variety of complex reasons and murky machinations - including the dreaded being-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time - served to prevent either band from becoming the household names they so wanted to be.

And yet that time and place may well be in the here and now for Adorable's frontman Pete Fij(alkowski) and The House Of Love's extraordinary guitarist Terry Bickers. The pair have just released their second album together, We Are Millionaires, and, in the vein of their 2014 debut, Broken Heart Surgery, it's a remarkable collection of melancholic yet richly melodic meditations that tug at the emotions and elicit nods of recognition from anyone whose shoes have worn down from walking around the block yet again. Indeed, you get the feeling that neither Fij nor Bickers sleep on their side for fear of the jagged bits of their broken hearts poking through their ribs.

To listen to Pete Fij and Terry Bickers play their songs live in intimate settings is to wish for a return to indoor smoking. Then, you'd be able to watch the trails of smoke dance from the edge of your cigarette and twist and turn like those female silhouettes during the title sequence of a 70s Bond movie. And later, when the smoke gets in your eyes, your tears would water the whisky in front of you. 

But what's also remarkable about the pair is the interplay between them. The mutual affection is palpable. Where Pete Fij's experiences of disappointment and hurt from a life lived hard are beautifully manifested through his words and gloriously worn yet commanding voice and his acoustic guitar playing, Terry Bickers' sublime mastery of his instrument is a joy to behold. Once rightly hailed as the wunderkind of his generation, here Bickers is tender and considerate as he paints the songs with beautiful flourishes, sustained notes and that love of echoes and delays that's been with him since an early stage. This, then, is the sum of both of their life experiences and while their wilder days are behind, this new incarnation suits them both. Crucially, this is their moment now and so an opportune moment for Terry Bickers to stop and consider those 13 albums that have left their indelible mark upon him… 

Click the image of Terry Bickers below to begin reading the Baker's Dozen