The Album Collection #9: 1995, Elastica, Elastica

by Ray_North on May 20, 2013

Unknown-31995, was the worst year of my life.

For about 9 miserable, bored, unhappy months of it, I worked for the Civil Service Trade Union, watching agog as the safe soft left leadership and the mad Marxist left kicked chunks out of another, to the detriment of their members. For the rest of the time, I watched my Mum grow ill and die.

One morning, I went into Our Price Records at Waterloo Station and bought two albums – Radiohead’s The Bends, and Elastica by Elastica. They are both amongst my favourite albums, they are both works of genius. Radiohead went on to stick their heads firmly up their arse, whilst Elastica’s self-destruction was swifter and more final – no dying of the light for them.

I’ve chosen Elastica’s album. It’s wonderful. It still works. It doesn’t remind me of the bad parts of that year, only the good.

In 1992, when George, Jackie, Bobby and I were living in a post University haze, Elastica formed and started releasing some great singles – indeed I can still remember Bobby playing Waking Up and asking me if I thought it sounded like The Stranglers, I can’t remember what I said, but I don’t care, there is nothing wrong with a bit of music theft along as the song is still good.

By 1995 Elastica had released all their best tunes on this, their eponymous album and what a wonderful piece of work. A collection of thrashed chords, driving bass and stomping drums. Every song an explosion of three minutes of energy, aggression, sex and joy of being young and beautiful and being able to say and do what you want – which is how I like to think of Justine Firschmann.

Like every great album, you never get tired of playing it,and like all great albums it has a story, and the story of Elastica is the love story that was Frischmann, Blur’s Daman Albarn and Suede’s Brett Anderson. Legend has it that Frischmann was with tortured Anderson, then along came the cheeky elfin Albarn and stole her away. But what this album is a two fingered salute to both of them. This is Frischmann and her band saying, we can make sweaty, four chord, indie music just as well as any boy.

Car Song is a homage to sex in cars; Vaseline is about having sex, well, in lots of fun ways; Connection is great big fuck you, ah the way she sings the line, ‘Who wants a life anyway?’ Whilst 2:1 seems to be a direct reference to her tussle with Albarn and Anderson.

Amazingly, this is nearly 20 years on. Elastica never made anything worth listening to again. But that doesn’t matter, this explosion of energy stands the test of time.

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