Album: Space

Suburban Rock'n'Roll, R & M
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The Independent Culture

According to their singer, Tommy Scott, Space always wanted to be a cult band, and were quite taken aback by the success of singles such as "Female of the Species". So when, around the turn of the century, illness and alcoholism started to take their toll on the group, they decided to step off the treadmill, preferring to work on material that meant something to them, rather than just churn out hits. Four years in the making, Suburban Rock'n'Roll is the result, a collection of intelligent pop songs in the mould of Pulp and Squeeze, wry refractions of contemporary life which, they'll probably be chagrined to hear, have potential hit appeal. An air of suburban paranoia permeates songs such as the Eighties electro-pop pastiche "Zombies", and "Hitch Hiking", in which fear of violence is fretted about over a "Gloria"-style vamp, while elsewhere, with their creepy lounge-music manner slashed by turntable scratches, "Pretty Suicide" and "Hell's Barbecue" evoke the social dread of Pulp's "This is Hardcore". Key to the album's success, however, is the tension between self-loathing and self-assertion, with Scott claiming to "hate that coward in my dreams/ He steps in front of every goal". A mature, absorbing work, lent a serendipitous modernity by the occasional resemblance to the Scissor Sisters.

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