I recently rediscovered an album called 'This world and body' by a band from Macclesfield called Marion. I was actually a little taken aback by how good it was. Marion came around at an odd time, just after Suede had (wrongly)temporarily quenched the pop worlds thirst for a 'new Smiths' and just in time to be roped in with the snowball of shit we have come to know as 'Britpop'. This is a shame.
Though possessing in Jaime (his spelling) Harding one those front men who you either rather like or could happily throttle, the bands Smiths credentials were pretty good, having been a Northern band managed by Marr-Mentor Joe Moss, to actually having their second LP(the sadly woeful The Program) produced by Sir Johnny of Marr himself. Even old Mozzer said he liked them, a curse if there ever was one. After the ill fated second LP (which didn't chart) the band dissolved into a mire of heroine addiction, with only guitarist Phil Cunningham coming up roses by playing guitar live with New Order.
Its sad that they will always be remembered as a boil on the arse of britpop, as their first album is a cracker. Obviously honed with love and care in the rehersal room, the songs leap from the speakers and soar.
'Sleep' you will remember as the harmonica lead song from the Citroen ads at the time, but its the other songs that really shine. 'Lets all go together' was gutsy , intelligent and dramatic with a swooping chorus that went 'Its hard for you/they dont understand/youre lifes and exam/and you need something'. The sort of record you sort of hoped Suede would make.
'Vanessa' is a hoot. All chiming guitars and hands on hips. The kind of song that pops in your head when you see an ex- looking fantastic.
'Wait' is an articulate radio song, should such a thing exist. 'My children' is a baby cousin to the Smiths' 'Asleep' that explodes into life a la 'Creep' by Radiohead.
Again, this is a CD you could probably get for a couple off quid off Amazon, but have a chew on these first-