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Wammers Album Club Tues 6th Jan, Spacemen 3 'Playing with Fire'

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Prepare to be dazzled or droned to sleep - its Spacemen 3!

[Flashback sequence]

Its 1989, I'm 18 and have spent most of the 80's wearing black and purple paisley shirts, winkle-picker boots, with my hair back-combed. My music collection largely consists of The Cure, Jesus & Mary Chain, Bauhaus, The Smiths etc, and I've started buying records on Sub Pop and SST labels.

I have a lovely 12" copy of Loop's 'Collision' that goes with me to various house parties, as well as another raucous 12" of 'Revolution' by SM3 (on this album). However this does not prepare me for what was waiting for me when I finally bought the album -

220px-Spacemen_3_Playing_with_Fire_Original_Cover.jpg

I was into almost anything at the time involving feedback, soft speedy drumming and a fair amount of reverb - perfect for getting close to mysterious girls with purple lipstick/ eyeshadow, and long black hair in the Barrel Organ (RIP) in Digbeth, Birmingham.

I buy copy of said album from the grumpy bugger in Swordfish who refused to play it, jump on the 63 bus and head home to stick it on the Phillips music centre. Nothing that I had heard prior to that prepared me for what came next. Expecting more strident headwaving malarky like 'Revolution' I was somewhat surprised to hear all manner of mellow, gospel infused melodies beautifully arranged with an array of vintage synths, farfisa etc. Something clicked in my brain and I fell in love with an album that at the time was had nothing in common with the rest of my records.

A couple of years later I meet my wife to be at a party as her curiosity was piqued by some young dandy playing Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Loop and Spacemen 3 - our record collections merged in blissful union and we have been inseparable ever since.

[/Flashback sequence]

So, before Jason Pierce went on to wider acclaim with Spiritualised, two lads from Northampton (roughly) formed a band to play what became termed 'Shoegazing' music to small numbers of stoned/ spaced out fans. He and Pete Kember knocked another great album after this one ('Recurring' - I played 'Hypnotised' at Scalford) before completely falling out and going very separate ways. Live they were an enigma, playing sets looking straight at the floor and with almost complete indifference to the audience (who were largely too out of it to interact in any case).

Its a bit of an understatement to say that you're either going to get this album or be left completely non plussed by it. I don't think its on Spotify but other streams and downloads may be available. Its definitely a sound to play loud and let it envelope you, and yes its an album that benefits from, and also improves the taking of mind altering substances. The grooves on my original pressing have worn out playing this over the last 25 years - oh shit is it that long, where did my life / youth go?!

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Ok Wac-kers this one is only on the Groovy Shark QeRbSfyokKys1Ka3VyXT7ySvS6bHviijcdbTGhvh7ek8 3IhMVHRQzXWqYKr8z8VZCYuehzH4XxbFIOJJv4HV2PD1CZxQMEAAAAASUVORK5CYII=

so for all you groovy fuckers sharkers here is the link :-

http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Playing+With+Fire/189063

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I am going to have trouble being objective about this one. I have been buying music by the two creative forces behind this record since their second single was released. I had seen them play live before this came out and was expecting something to match as the unreleased tracks in that set at the time were 'Revolution' and 'Suicide' which were ferocious at close range. Suffice to say there is a fair bit of contrast to that live experience here. This LP was little short of a revelation to me at the time of its release.

EDIT: Here is an audience shot video of a 1989 gig to give the uninitiated some idea of the live experience.

[video=youtube;NxrrL95TLj8]

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I bought the LP but don't really remember what it's like. Apart from (maybe Stooges meets Sigue Sigue Sputnik :dunno:) 'Revolution' which was an indie classic of its (Snub TV) day. Had a quick YouTube of it and still awesome. Will be fun to listen to the rest of the album.

Edit: whole album on YouTube here

[video=youtube;HGFZrtryHBw]

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I shall have to dust the cobwebs off the chillum...

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Having had a brief listen, I think I remember being disappointed that the rest of the album didn't have the noisy guitars of 'Revolution' and that's why I didn't play it much. Will enjoy it more now.

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I see the poll sneakily only goes up to four ;-) So while it's not a five star classic, I've given it top marks and very much enjoyed listening to this (albeit a scratchy vinyl YouTube copy).

It obviously owes a huge debt to the 60s and the Velvets and the Stooges (which indie bands don't...) but a really good album. Nice mix of sparse and dense. Very good indeed. Like it a lot.

Intro to 'Revolution' remains immense, no wonder I bought it. I'd happily buy it again.

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Definitely not the sort of thing that I normally listen to but I found it growing as the album progressed. I'll give it another listen or two before making up my mind.:^

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Top marks from me. An hour or so of shimmering, droning, hypnotic and goosebump inducing psychedelia. Whats not to like?! :D

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