Sunday, 24 May 2015

Perfume

Band: Paris Angels
Album: [NA]
Year: 1990
Label: Sheer Joy
Status: Disbanded 1992 - back in 2013!
Opening jangly guitars and tambourine grab the ear; then drums kick in, and you really take notice. When people heard this song in the summer of 1990 they’d stop, intrigued, and ask who it was. The song’s appeal is partly because it’s so singable, but also it is full of distinctive features such as the way the band play with tempo, moving it into higher energy, or the chorus where Jane Gill’s angelic “Oooh-aaaah” contrasts with Rikki’s deep-voiced “I’m going stupid once again,” before they combine with “I left it up to you.” A move to unity. There are hints of New Order or a happier Joy Division (singer Rikki’s voice and look is reminiscent of Ian Curtis). Even the sunflower seed image on their first single cover and video resembles New Order iconography. Then at the end of the song it sounds like a spaceship taking off, a band on the rise. Paris Angels erupted onto the Madchester scene at a key point, full of promise and making an immediate impact.

Perfume, this shoe-gazing dance crossover, was their biggest hit, Manc-pop at its best, and is still played by DJs in the know today. John Peel did a session with them. Perfume was single of the week in NME. It sat near the top of the indie chart in the summer of 1990. Paris Angels signed with Sheer Joy (owned by an ex-Factory employee), then Virgin. At one Manchester gig their support was St. Etienne. They were going places.

Yet they remained a down-to-earth band, humble even. Paris Angels were regulars at the Boardwalk and Ha├žienda. Young music fanatics, well-known to all (Clint Boon from Inspiral Carpets used to go shopping for records with Paris Angels drummer Simon Worrall). Perhaps the band’s genuine love for and knowledge of the music scene is part of the reason they were respected by other Manchester musicians and got on with so many other bands.


The angels are often overlooked today. Their ship disappeared in 1991 after the release of their Sundew album. What caused the implosion? A singer’s pregnancy? Record label incompetence? Contract transfers and Virgin/EMI roster changes? Or offers from elsewhere? Doesn’t matter. The ascension of the angels was a loss to the music scene.

[Karl's update - see status box at the top.]





Extract from page 280 of 2000 Tunes: A History of Manchester Music by M. H. Rees; used with permission. Read the whole series (25 extracts) here; or my summary post. Readers might be interested in my forthcoming novel about a man obsessed with Manchester music - confusingly, it is also called 2000 Tunes!
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