Posts Tagged ‘three wheels good’

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.