Hatcham Social: You Dig The Tunnel, I’ll Hide The Soil
Posted by angrybonbon
The two things I remember most of 1986: one is to do with football and needn’t bother us here; the second concerned music and its concomitant styles. For I remember in quite vivid terms suddenly being surrounded by bowl-cut hair stylings that I until that point I thought the lowest in cool and had avoided from the time I had any say over what was atop my head. Accompanying these seemingly unhip locks were monkey boots (interchanged with pointy boots), intricately flowered up shirts (done right up), and little army surplus satchels. Musically my mates, suitably attired, were making lots of references to The Monkees, The Byrds and the Velvets, all sprinkled with a more than light dusting of sugariness. It was all a bit bewildering, not enough to make me veer off the different (ahem) subcultural pathway I was travelling, but enough to find myself at gigs including Tallulah Gosh, Razorcuts, The Shop Assistants and the like.
Most of this is irrelevant but it all comes rushing back when one listens to Hatcham Social’s latest longplayer – You Dig The Tunnel, I’ll Hide The Soil. This is outright Indie pop and represents something of a move away from the angular scratchiness of the earlier stuff I own of theirs. These 11 Iced jangly gifts batter your cynicism and general angriness. The war against pessimism and scorn might take a while, but who can resist a band who’s LastFM’s pic should be a still frame on The Chart Show’s Indie chart (which was always hotly anticipated round these parts)?
The boys wear some obvious influences – a substantial dash of Orange Juice on opener ‘Crocodiles’, more than just a shade of Bunnymen on ‘I Cannot Cure My Pure Evil’ and guitars that veer towards The Wedding Present on ‘So So Happy Making’ – but I see no problem with that whatsoever. At least this lot are (possibly) reading Because Midway rather than trying to remake the all but doomed XFM playlist for the nth time. It only falls apart when they try to put music to the Jabberwocky and end up sounding way too sixth form.
I suppose I should fess-up as this sort of stuff is not usually my cup of tea: I vaguely know one of the band, hence why it’s come across my horizon (paid for though). This might have coloured things with a more forgiving ear. That aside, I wasn’t expecting this album to begin my preparation for forgiving C86 (and all that). That’s some possible impact.