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Orange Juice – You Can't Hide Your Love Forever/Rip It Up/Texas Fever/The Orange Juice [Reissues]


Orange Juice – You Can't Hide Your Love Forever/Rip It Up/Texas Fever/The Orange Juice [Reissues]
11 March 2014, 17:30 Written by Hayley Scott

Like many of their contemporaries, Orange Juice were a product of punk’s indelible influence, but not everything that came after the movement was manifested stylistically – its essence and ideology is palpable in so much of the music that followed. Take post punk ; a direct outgrowth of punk, it was foundationally and inextricably linked to the movement, in the same way indie pop and C86 was attributed to post punk’s increasingly melodic disposition.But listen to a band like Orange Juice and, for the most part, you’d fail to see any correlation between their music and what we think of as punk. However, the band’s trajectory runs from January 1977: at the tail end of the month, Manchester’s foremost punk band The Buzzcocks released their debut recording, a 4-track EP called Spiral Scratch, and the world changed.

While Spiral Scratch was not the first punk record, or indeed the most influential, it was one of the most important for one essential reason: it was completely self-financed, came in a hand-pressed sleeve, and released on their own New Hormones imprint– one of the first independent punk labels in the UK. The whole DIY scene began right there, and it would be an ethos habituated by bands thereafter, specifically those that would become mainstays of the inidepop scene of which Orange Juice were early proponents. The band would even go on to overtly reference The Buzzcocks’ “Boredom” in their charting 1983 single “Rip It Up”: it’s brilliantly conflicting amongst a backdrop of optimistic shiny pop: “You know me I’m acting dumb dumb, you know this scene is very humdrum, and my favourite song’s entitled “Boredom”” sings Collins while its familiar riff chimes briefly in - and thus, they manage to subvert even at their most accessible.

Orange Juice - Rip It Up

In 1982 many of the bands associated with the postpunk movement began to stray from its aesthetics, leaving a lightened thirst for the kind of colourful pop revered by the likes of NME and The Face. Typically perverse, The Fall chose this moment to unleash the dark and seminal Hex Enduction Hour, one of two major releases from the beginning of the year, disparately preceded by the challenging and sophisticated soundscapes of XTC’s similarly lengthy English Settlement. Orange Juice released their full-length debut You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever shortly after, and although it seemed much lighter fare in comparison, under the surface was a hidden depth to their music: their exuberant, seemingly naive love songs packed with concealed piss-takes, lyrical witticisms and cultural references would soon be credited for influencing bands like The Smiths.

Domino recently reissued all four of the band’s albums, each one remastered to give a heightened quality of sound. As expected, the sound is flawless, but it also serves somewhat as a detriment to the original essence of Orange Juice; despite the band’s deviation into glossier production post–Postcard, here everything sounds just a little too polished.

Orange Juice - Texas Fever

Musically speaking, You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever was originally contested by some, with a couple of snide, withering reviews in weeklies like NME, and for many, the album failed to live up to the expectations of the early Postcard singles following accusations of them selling out by signing to a major label. But for me and many alike, this is the band’s defining record; it hones in on Edwin Collins’ proclivity for combining his love of soul with inflections of pop, all set against a more traditional indie guitar sound popular at that time. It’s an album of contrasts and surprises: the first disjointed, opening guitar lines of “Falling and Laughing” would have you believe it’s an archetypal post punk record with all its pared down idiosyncrasies, but then you have the sunny disposition of “Wan Light” and the soulful groove of Al Green’s “L.O.V.E Love” to counteract it, meanwhile Edwyn Collins’ tremulous vocals remain the only constant theme, resounding as they are flawed.

Orange Juice - The Orange Juice

Here we are reminded of a band that visited so many places musically other than the jagged proto-indie of The Glasgow School - see the confused Americana of Texas Fever, the comparatively dark but conventional The Orange Juice and the slick, Chic inspired funk of Rip It Up for conviction; as a collective these albums give you a sense of the breadth of Orange Juice’s sphere. The reason why Orange Juice remain enticing is because in an era of ‘perfect pop’ they were never perfect nor entirely ‘pop’, yet they were never strictly one thing in terms of musical style. Their Buzzcocks influence meant they were awkwardly stuffed into the post punk bucket, but more accurately they were progenitors of early indie pop and the C86 scene along with bands like Blueboy, The Field Mice, Shop Assistants, The Flatmates and The Pastels, while they were also proponents of the same sophisticated bookish pop employed by Prefab Sprout and Lloyd Cole & The Commotions.They dared to puncture the pomp and seriousness of the rock canon by remaining defiantly anti-macho throughout their career, a stance which would soon be practised by those in the indie pop scene that they inspirited. And for that alone, they should be regarded as an enormously significant band.

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