News updates for Close Lobsters

Close Lobsters Video Debut and Stream at Brooklyn Vegan

Eighties-era Scottish indie pop band Close Lobsters reformed a few years ago and have been playing shows, including a fun set at NYC Popfest 2013. Last month, the band released the Kunstwerk in Spacetime EP, the group’s first new recordings in 25 years. The long-ish songs find them slipping right back into their psychedelic, jangly groove like no time had passed. We’ve got the premiere of the video for lead track “Now Time” in this post.



Close Lobsters at The Vinyl District

Those carrying an eternal torch for the epochal C86 compilation are certainly familiar with Close Lobsters. That Scottish band emerged from estimable company with a pair of full-lengths and even made some late-‘80s ripples in the US market before breaking up around the turn of the ‘90s. In 2012 they announced a reunion, and Shelflife Records’ issue of the sturdy, unfussy, and highly enjoyable 7-inch EP “Kunstwerk in Spacetime” offers the first new music from this rekindling of activity.

More than an anthology, C86, a cassette originally offered by the weekly UK periodical New Musical Express, gave a name to an entire post-punk/indie pop movement. As its recent compact disc reissue underscores, this circumstance is long and well documented, though the Cherry Red label’s expansion of the initial 22 selections to three CDs and a whopping 72 cuts (some unreleased) intensifies the spotlight to the absolute hilt; its track-listing reads as exhaustive, possibly even exhausting.


Close Lobsters at With Guitars

I remember the Close Lobsters, they appeared on the now legendary C86 album and became associated with that scene, although along with the likes of the Wedding Present, Mighty Lemon Drops and A Witness probably represented the natural link between the end of post-punk and the start of indie music. A few years earlier and I’ve no doubt that they’d have been on Postcard Records, their jangling guitars seemed to owe a certain debt to Orange Juice and Josef K, but then they were from Glasgow! They soon signed to Fire Records achieving critical acclaim but limited commercial success.

 After petering out in the 90s, two years ago the original line-up decided to reform playing selected shows in Europe and now we have a new 7” released on heavy-weight oxblood vinyl by Shelflife Records in Portland, Oregon. On the lead track ‘Now Time’ the guitars aren’t nearly as jangly as on the 80s recordings and the DIY production has been replaced by something more professional, but it’s a cracking indie pop song that will please the original fans. The B-side ‘New York City In Space’ sounds more retro and could easily have been recorded prior to their split.

 A fine record and a worthy addition to their legacy. 8.5/10


Close Lobsters at The POP! Stereo

Wow! Just wow. I can’t believe I’m sat here listening to Close Lobsters. New Close Lobsters. This is like a gift, an unexpected treat and stunning return to form. Easily one of my favorite late 80’s indie pop it’s nice to have these guys back and with such an excellent single to boot. Unlike so many other 80’s indie pop bands who have come back and just been moany and old, Close Lobsters sound like they’ve never stopped making tunes.

The Kunstwerk In Spacetime EP is two songs of British jangle pop that shimmers and sparkles in the sunshine. It’s classic c86 stuff that doesn’t sound a day over 25 despite taking that long to make. Someone apparently forgot to tell Close Lobsters that it’s 2014, and that’s ok because this stuff is awesome. The record might be a bit of a spiritual tribute to their transplanted American homeland but sounds as British as PG tips and Jaffa Cakes. It’s awesome stuff that’s light, spangly, ridiculously catchy and easily one of the best singles of 2014. 
This was a pleasant surprise and welcome one at that. Close Lobsters still have it and although a generation of time has passed by it’s like nothing at all has changed. Some reunions aren’t worth the time, this one is worth it’s weight in gold!


Close Lobsters at The Sons of the Smiths

Mention and track stream at the link.


Close Lobsters at Three Wheels Good

Sometime around early 1991, the indie label Enigma Records went bust and flooded the remainder bins of America’s mall record stores with thousands of remaindered LPs and CDs. That’s how I discovered the Close Lobstersthat spring, after buying their three Enigma releases at the Record Bar in South Plains Mall in Lubbock, Texas for, if I recall correctly, $4.97 plus tax. Total. That remains one of the great value-for-money shopping days of my life, because those two albums (Foxheads Stalk This Land andHeadache Rhetoric) and one EP (What Is There To Smile About, which song for song remains my favorite of their records) soon became some of my most treasured, and have remained so ever since.

A five-piece from Paisley, Scotland, their music reminded me a bit of some of my other favorite ’80s U.K. bands — particularly Felt and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions — but seasoned with a big dose of the jangly American college radio bands of the era (think Feelies more than R.E.M.) that gave them a bit more edge. A couple years later, when my college work study job got an internet connection, I discovered that the Close Lobsters were part of a scene that had been retroactively dubbed C86, after the promo cassette of that name that NME had released as a survey of the state of the British indie scene in that post-Smiths era. (C86 itself, incidentally, has just been reissued in expanded form onCherry Red Records and is totally worth your money and time.) I’ve spent a fair chunk of the intervening two decades exploring those bands and their acolytes, and yet, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard any that I like more than the Close Lobsters.

Which is why I’m both thrilled and relieved to report that their reunion single is brilliant, sounding both like the logical extension to their ’86-’89 records and like a record recorded and released in 2014. Top side “Now Time” matches a hypnotic guitar riff to a drop-dead cool lead vocal by Andrew Burnett, both of which owe a certain debt to vintage Tom Verlaine, before spiraling off into a gorgeous, near-psychedelic guitar solo. The flip “New York City in Space” is more classically Lobsteresque, piling Burnett, Tom Donnelly and Graeme Wilmington‘s guitars into a swirl of rippling overtones around Burnett’s impressionistic lyrics. The single is also a lovely object, sporting both a great sleeve design and what must be, seriously, the heaviest seven-inch single I’ve ever held. Plus, if you download the tracks, you get an additional two mixes of “Now Time,” an extended mostly-instumental with some wordless female vocals and a dubwise mix built around a pulsating keyboard part.


Luxembourg Signal and Close Lobsters at Tuning Into The Obscure

Close Lobsters – Kunstwerk in Spacetime EP – Shelflife

A new single by long-time rockers, Close Lobsters!  “Kunstwerk” is the German word for “work of art,” and I’d say that’s exactly what the band has to offer here.  A brilliant blend of indie pop, indie rock and jangle meet up with flawless songwriting and engaging instrumentation.  I tried to draw some comparisons to other groups to nail down their sound and it wound up being more of a case where this band is rather unique; there are hints of influences for sure but they definitely wave their own flag.  This is a great single and it’s great to see the band is still jamming after all of these years! (4.9 out of 5)

The Luxemburg Signal — Distant Drive – Shelflife

As the needle drops, I’m hit with sweet indie pop that reminds me right away of Splendora, Breeders and Beth Orton and a pinch of Veruca Salt.  Two very strong and entrancingly accessible tracks mark this strong debut 7 inch.  And go ahead and call me crazy but I swear I hear a hint of REM on the b-side, which of course makes me LOVE this all the more!  Flawless debut! Ultra eager to hear more! (5 out of 5)


Close Lobsters at Beethobear

Click through for review at Beethobear out of Taiwan.


Close Lobsters at SoundsXP

Close Lobsters were one of the indie jangly bands that featured on NME’s C86 cassette, released a couple of classic albums in the late 80s (Foxheads Stalk This Land and Headache Rhetoric) and then gave up as the world pulled on the plaid and went grunge. They only broke their musical fast of 23 years when they played together again in 2012 but a listen to the six-minute ‘Now Time’ takes you back to that psychedelic janglepop sound of the late ‘80s, as the guitars change gear from ‘purr’ to ‘roar’ and the song starts soaring, like some indie-club anthem from 1989. 

Meanwhile, ‘New York City in Space’ is a super-jangly hymn to their spiritual homeland, complete with sweet melodies, nostalgic mentions of CBGBs and the Bowery, typically obscure lyrics (“thinking of the space that lies between Elvis and us”), and arrangements as big and bold as the “canyons of NYC” that they’re singing about. What is there to smile about? asked the Close Lobsters in 1988; in 2014, the answer is: the return of the Close Lobsters.


Close Lobsters at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

I was pretty stoked when I placed the new single by Close Lobsters on my turntable. Two songs of Love Spit Love and early Alarm catchiness with a brooding intensity well worth repeated listening. It conjured a memory of my awkward junior high days back in the late 80s and the cool mix tapes I would get with a diversity of bands consisting of The Alarm, New Model Army, Black Flag, and The Accused. I remembered a summer night at the local public swimming pool, where they would let the “teens” hang out, blare tunes, and have their own space for a few hours. 

There was a really cute skate betty named Shannon at the get together that night, I was trying to impress her. I could barely get two words out of my mouth while I had New Model Army playing on my boom box poolside. At that moment, two creeps from the wrestling team decided it was time to lift me off the ground and throw me into the pool. I had to plead with the dimwits and they just dropped me on the concrete. I felt so stupid that I couldn’t pull some heroic move to knock these two goons out. Oh well, I would spend the rest of that summer recovering my self-esteem. I did run into Shannon again when I was 21, got her number, and never bothered to call her. Sometimes you can’t repeat the past and it changes its shape as you move on in life. 

The Close Lobsters have made a nice explosion in their return to the scene of moody post-punk. The lead track “Now Time” has a classic picked apart chord opening with a nice drum break-in of Echo & the Bunnymen proportions. The guitar work is melodic and uses clean distortion mixed with tasteful chorus effects to compliment the atmosphere. If you’re a fan of early John Hughes films, this would fit in perfectly with those timeless soundtracks of youthful confusion, distrust, hope, and bright-eyed irresponsibility. 

The follow up track “New York City in Space” has a hypnotic and slower paced groove that moves along with bluesy new-wave inspired interplay. Solid playing and carefully crafted songwriting shine through on this strong release. Close Lobsters are legendary in their own right, with their debut in 1986 on NME’s seminal C86 compilation and singles with Enigma Records that had serious airplay back in the days when college radio ruled the indie airwaves in 1988. Hey, that’s around the same time I was thrown around at the pool party. Perfect timing then and perfect timing now. Available on blood colored vinyl exclusively from Shelflife Records. Until next time and the time after that…