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The Hector Collectors

  • Straight Outta Comprehensive
  • Songs Of Ignorance And Of Inexperience

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    The Hector Collectors

    Straight Outta Comprehensive 6 ( 2001 )
    What's The Point In Getting Up? / *Laurel Park School / Hallo Kitty / Your Nazi Boyfriend / 0891 50 50 50 / Down The Pub / It's Raining, It's Pouring / Dominic Diamond / Mid-Afternoon Crisis / Talkin' To Another Psychopath / The Day The Supernaturals Went To The 13th Note / My Fiat Punto / Eastenders / Hey Music Journo / O'Shanefield's Girlfriend / Sarah Sherley-Price / Indie Weekender / Stephen Pastel's Blues / Leafy Lane / Tony McCarroll

    Here we have an album released on the Jam Jar label in 2001. A new young band from Scotland very noticeably in with the kind of indie/alternative music played by famous BBC Radio One DJ John Peel. Indeed, he's been playing a few Hector Collectors songs on his shows in the past months. So, what do have? Well, we have lo-fi! Very lo-fi! It gives it an intimate, drinking beer with your mates kind of feel though. I mean that in a good sense, by the way. The songs support it by being fairly melodic, especially vocally. The musical backing is mostly strummed guitars with simplistic drums and odd bits of percussion. The opening 'What's The Point In Getting Up' is 'the radio hit' Its a fine song, actually, charming and winning. We have a strong opening generally. 'Laurel Park School' has lyrics that are just....well, they make you smile. Its a good thing and a fine song with a wonderful 'it would be so nice' hook in the chorus. 'Hallo Kitty' is very memorable, the next few songs less so. 'Down The Pub' has humorous lyrics in places but the song isn't perhaps quite as well executed as it may have been. Twenty songs! Fourty five minutes! It means that each song occupies only the exact right amount of time for it to make its point, charm and entertain you ( or not, as the case may be ) and then onto the next song. I do like the pace of this record.

    Another highlight arrives with wonderfully silly 'It's Raining, It's Pouring' which is the sound of The Hector Collectors all over. The vocals are just so fantastically done, bearing in mind the general lo-fi sound. This lo-fi sound isn't something you should be concerned about however, it seems perfectly natural given the overall feel of the songs. It suits them, its almost impossible to imagine them sounding any other way. I'm not actually sure i'd want them to There is a run of songs on the second half starting with 'My Fiat Punto' and ending with 'O'Shanefield's Girlfriend' which seem less attractive to me than other songs here, less focused from both a writing and performing point of view. Well, 'O'Shanefield's Girlfriend' is actually a fine song with decent vocals were it not for the drunken sounding introduction! 'Sarah Sherley-Price' completely gets things back on track and manages to sound like classic Hector Collectors, if such a thing exists! We end with a five minute tribute in song to former Oasis drummer Tony McCarroll. I'm sure he'd be pleased with the sentiment. Well, perhaps... Overall this is a fine, enjoyable album that occupies its own world, but also welcomes you happily into it. And its a pretty good place to be.


    top of page Tantric New Romantic ***
    *Tantric New Romantic / When's The Tea Ready? / *Billy Sloan / *Mock Around The Smock / *Gary Newman Needs Another Hit / Deepend / I Don't Know

    Now, what the hell is this? Production???? Well, almost! In one single small leap, The Hector Collectors have progressed from the production levels of 'Dragnet' by The Fall to the production levels of 'Grotesque' by The Fall!! But the title song of this small, tidily compact EP remains unaffected by production, lack of, or otherwise. It's a fine happy sounding song, even if the singer seems to wearing an audible grin throughout the recording. Lots of mentions of new romantic type stuff in the lyrics of course. This is a concept EP! Got to love the 'keyboard' solo though. It's so quite plainly ridiculous you can't help yourself but smile. Second song 'When's The Tea Ready?' is quite frankly bloody awful - a Beastie Boys tribute. Nice 'twiddly' guitar part in there somewhere which made me smile, but the rest of the song failed unspectacularly to make me do anything but curse and frown. 'Billy Sloan' is a sweet one minute long song, but what's this? It was written and sung by the groups drummer, I ask you! Dagnabit.

    Luckily, this slightly disapointing so far Hector Collectors release is saved quite wonderfully by songs four and five. 'Mock Around The Smock' is a thing of semi-genius. And, what's this? The sound of The Fall circa 1980? Damn right! It may well have been unintentional, I don't know, but the guitars here are simply wonderful - all jaunty and clear. The lyrics are something to behold as well, a flood of words, good words too. 'Gary Newman Needs Another Hit' is worth the price of this EP's admission alone. Very funny lyrics that are charmingly sung, very funny shouted harmonies. Very warm and affecting, it makes me go all quishy inside. 'Deepend' is a Kraftwerk parody played on guitar with completely daft lyrics. What was that? Played on guitar? How can a Kraftwerk parody be played on guitar?? It's pretty funny though, and there are keyboard parts in there as well, of course The final song ( watch out for the hidden bonus that follows! ) is pretty nice, nothing more, nothing less. Overall then? Two great tracks, two good tracks, two average and one poor. And, that's it! Stupidly, the bonus track 'hidden' at the end is better than half of the other songs! Ah well, that's why we love them so.

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    Readers Comments

    Scott Kellock s_kellock@hotmail.com
    Saw then live for the first time supporting HMHB. Superb, Gary Numan track is brill. Will definatley be on the lookout for their gigs and releases. Cheers guys for a great night

    top of page Dollification ****
    *Opposites / Hectors By Numbers / *Solid Silver 60s Tour / BA Robertson / Dollification / *Alision Goldfrapp

    Our favourite Scottish indie popsters are back with a six track 7" vinyl EP, playing at 33.3rpm and released on Stolen Wine Records, PO Box 217, Wilmslow, SK9 2WB. Sigh. What we all actually want of course is a second full length LP. The Hector Collectors continue to get better and better. With the lead track here, produced by ex-teenage fanclub member Brendan O'Hare, the hectors are clearly going places! Well, name producers (?!) aside, the real reason anticipation for a new Hector Collectors album is reaching fever pitch in places as far flung as coventry is the material itself. 'Opposites' has clever, funny lyrics - very good lyrics. It also has a massive hook a fisherman could win competitions with. Cute vocals are a feature of both the second and third songs. The hectors quote Joe Meek's 'Telstar' musically during the latter tune, the former song is just so nice, daft, yet utterly brilliant. I want a bloody CD copy, it's a pain in the ass for me to listen to vinyl records these days. Lack of equipment, you see!

    The second side kicks off with 'BA Robertson', another song with catchy melodies and great funny lyrics. Four winners in a row? Well, yeah. Two more to go? Yeah, actually. The Hector Collectors and principal songwriter Adam Smith produce their finest piece of plastic yet here. The closing 'Alison Goldfrapp' is just as nice, affecting and well put together as anything else here, by the way. Do yourself a favour, visit hectorcollectors.co.uk and discover this band. They sound little like them, but they're catchier and just as addictive listening as Franz Ferdinand, who went top ten!!


    top of page The Plimptons : Songs Of Ingorance And Of Inexperience 7
    We R Franz Ferdinand 2 / Could I Be Loved? / Help The State / Someday / Plimptons Rap / Britpop / John Major / William Shatner / Chix N Comix / Life ( die ) Why? / Jolly Top Hat / Realm O Majick

    You may remember Adam and Martin Smith from such groups as The Hector Collectors, and such support slots as that of supporting Half Man Half Biscuit, whom shamefully, I haven't got round to reviewing yet. Initial differences to the Hectors, then? Well, that jingle-jangle, sweet guitar has been replaced in many cases with actual ROCK guitar. Oh my, oh my. Well, it took me a couple of listens to get my head around, because I really did like Hector Collectors rather more than was probably healthy to do so. Anyhoo, what about this wonderfully titled album here? Well, it's huge fun, endlessly inventive and silly lyrically. I recommend you buy it, I really do. Link provided at bottom of page, you know, free downloads! The opening 'We R Franz Ferdinand 2' is a comment on the influx of bands pretending to be Franz Ferdinand when actually they are Kaiser Chiefs, or whatever. This is a distorted guitar thing with 'whoa ohh!' backing vocals. Switching from distortion to a song right in the Hectors mode, we have second song 'Could I Be Loved?'. A wonderful track, very funny lyrics and a rather sweet, sing-a-long chorus. I do like the variety present on this album, actually. It's by far the most rounded, consistent recording project ( eg, EP or album ) that Adam and Martin have been involved with. Hence, the acoustic 'Someday', the guitar+electronics of 'Plimptons Rap', the Kinks+Hectors silliness of the brilliantly joyful 'Jolly Top Hat'.

    Other delights this album has to offer then? Well, 'John Major' is surely a tongue-in-cheek, brilliantly un-political parody of some of the less interesting political figures of the recent past. Plus, you know, Margaret Thatcher being 'their man'. And the end of the song, Adam and Martin promise not to do any more silly songs and that Paddy Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrat party, actually didn't pull the singers pants down. I hope not! Anyway, of course, after promising not to do any silly songs, 'William Shatner' arrives next. A one and a half minute speedy guitar thing that seems to be telling us that Captain Kirks/TJ Hookers ( delete as to preference ) wife is dead. Terrible news! Oh, 'Chix N Comix' is just so hard to resist with it's sing-a-long chorus and the closing 'Realm O Majick' has keyboards and softer vocals, an interestingly put together track showcasing the continued development of these bunch of guys who really should be selling large quantities of records. The currently oh so dour music scene really needs them.

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    top of page this page last updated 28/06/08

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