Sunday, 21 July 2019

Papernut Cambridge - Nutlets II 1978-2001


A second volume of covers. Revelations, re-evaluations, and really good left-of-centre pop!


If there's such a thing a a regular reader of this humble blog, they'll be aware that Papernut Cambridge are a big favourite round at our house. And a productive lot they are too. Take their self-penned albums which brim over with warmth and intelligence, or the library music inspired instrumental albums, Mellotron Phase Volumes I & II. There's enough discs there to keep you happy should you ever find yourself on a on a desert island with said records and a record player. If that's not enough for you, you are obviously too fussy and demanding, but fear not, there's always Nutlets 1967-80 which they released in 2015. It's an album of cover versions giving an insight to the band's roots and musical loves. Featuring big melodic hits from the tail-end of the '60s to the beginning of the Thatcher years, it remains a celebration of pop's age of innocence that's sure to please even the most jaded sets of ears.

The good news is they're set to release a follow-up this week. Nutlets II 1978-2001 takes up roughly where Volume I left off. Beginning in the post-punk era what binds all the choices together is not genre but a certain subversive spirit, music that's slightly left-of-centre, says something lyrically, but still adheres to the notion that pop should be fun, and should at very least move you emotionally or physically. Or preferably both.

A lot of the songs you'll be aware of, some perhaps you won't. Some may be your own personal favourites, others may be new to you. You may be indifferent to some of the originals but hearing these covered versions in the context of this collection might give you fresh insight and have you e-evaluating your opinions. The collection draws from the well of post-punk, C86, electro, left-field guitar pop and college rock. Rather then try and re-invent the songs or give them a makeover, the band have pretty much kept to the tempos and styles of the originals, which is refreshing when you've been let down in past by one too many free CDs from Mojo magazine, and they're all imbued with Papernut's inimitable passion.

So what songs to they cover? There's the full tracklisting below but if you'd indulge me for a short while I'll break just a few of the songs down into three highly personalised sections - Really good pop, (songs that I personally know and love), re-evaluations, (stuff I glossed over first time round), and revelations (songs that are new to me).

Really good pop - Who can resist the perfect pop of 'Getting Nowhere Fast' by Girls At Our Best? Ditto Primal Scream's 'Velocity Girl', a dark song wrapped in the sunniest of melodies. Then there's Suede's 'Metal Mickey', a song that pre-dated the onslaught of Britpop and was in hindsight better than all of it. My favourite from this section is Daft Punk's 'Digital Love'. I loved this track from the very first time I heard it, it's instrumentally audacious, catchy, and really great fun.

Re-evaluations – Big Audio Dynamite's 'Medicine Show' scores big here. I kind of passed them over at the time. Something to do with the basic proto sampling, guitars without headstocks, and long coats. I admit now I was wrong and always enjoy hearing them on the radio, all the more so after having heard Papaernut Cambridge cover them here with such brio. Similarly the cover of New Order's 'Bizarre Love Triangle' has sparked a renewed interest in the Mancunian synth-pop band.

Revelations – Topping the list in this section is 'Boil In The Bag Man', a superb song originally by Adam and The Ants, which takes a swipe at the-man-on-the-street. This and covers of songs by Josef K, Psychedelic Furs, ESG and The Only Ones means this album is, for me, as rich in discovery as it is in discs of a more desert island nature. Everything this band has released is highly recommended and this set of covers is no exception. Dive in!

Available on 2LP vinyl or CD.

Full Tracklisting -
WE LOVE YOU (The Psychedelic Furs)
BOIL IN THE BAG MAN (Adam and The Ants)
DID YOU SEE HER (Pink Military)
SPLITTING IN 2 (Alternative TV)
PUBLIC IMAGE (Public Image Ltd)
STARS ARE STARS (Echo and The Bunnymen)
UNITED (Throbbing Gristle)
GETTING NOWHERE FAST (Girls At Our Best)
YOU'RE NO GOOD (ESG)
DEADLY NIGHTSHADE (The Only Ones)
CHANCE MEETING (Josef K)
IN A NUTSHELL (Orange Juice)
VELOCITY GIRL (Primal Scream)
BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE (New Order)
MEDICINE SHOW (Big Audio Dynamite)
SHAMPOO TEARS (Win)
THE KILLING JAR (Siouxsie and The Banshees)
METAL MICKEY (Suede)
STEAL MY SUNSHINE (Len)
DIGITAL LOVE (Daft Punk)


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