Known to the general public as one-hit-wonders, responsible for the #3 smash “Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag” back in April ’82, here we have the two significantly less successful singles that appeared either side of it, during the same year and on the same label (Dick O’Dell’s Y Records).
“Getting Up” (which peaked at #61 before quickly disappearing in February) is great: spiky, spacey, synthy post-punk Brit-funk of the highest caliber. Totally of-its-time and all the better for it. Of the two b-sides, “Giggling Mud” is perhaps even better, adding discreet dub-echo fx to a tight-but-loose funk jam, whilst “Go Cat” begins with a wonky rendition of the Top Cat theme before descending into a wild jazzy improv session. At one point someone shouts “Mine’s a cider!”, in true West Country fashion. You gotta love it!
Released in the wake of “Papa’s…” surprise success, “The Big Bean” just scraped into the Top 40 in July before swiftly disappearing back whence it came. Now recording at Abbey Road, and featuring steel drums, the track has a more luxurious sound which seems to predict the onset of ‘World Music’ that would rise to prominence later in that decade. Even the sleeve design has more of a mid/late-80s look about it. But what it gains in production values, it inevitably loses in terms of urgency and what might be termed ‘bite’.
B-side “Scumda” is a more interesting proposition. Revolving around a repetitive piano figure, dense percussion and some half-decent attempts at mimicking bird-calls, the track suggests an update of Martin Denny’s ‘exotica’ sounds, which (if I recall correctly) were quite in vogue with many artists in the post-punk mileau of the time.