The Woodentops: Giant and Hypno Beat Live

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A 1986 Rough Trade album made by a band who sound like an old kids programme: jangling old-school indie tweeness, surely? Well, it certainly made sense that the Woodentops were on Rough Trade, but they always had something that set them apart from their peers. Giant, their first album, was defined by an acoustic sound a bit like very enthusiastic busking, and by fast and complex percussion. With hindsight the Woodentops were making a much better fist of the ‘indie dance’ thing than most of their contemporaries, and the rhythms of Giant looked forward to house. Seeing them at the Astoria sometime in 1986 or 1987 it was obvious that the Woodentops wanted us to dance like idiots; the fantastic live album Hypno Beat Live captures the jaw-droppingly fast pace of their live set. And here’s the proof that the Woodentops were part of Ibitha in 1987.

1988’s Wooden Foot Cops On The Highway turned out to be their last album, despite the band doing pretty well commercially. However they have reformed, all the records are on Amazon or iTunes, and they have a myspace – maybe they’re even touring again?

Travelling Man‘ – The Woodentops – Giant

Everything Breaks‘ – The Woodentops – Giant

Move Me‘ – The Woodentops – Hypno Beat Live

JKneale

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About jkneale

BothBarsOn's London correspondent.

Posted on May 2, 2009, in Album reviews, where are they now pile and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You should have uploaded Hear Me James. FAIL. 😀

    I was a big fan but it was all on tape, so I paid a vast sum of money to acquire Giant on CD from the US a few years back. To be honest, although I loved it at the time, saw them live, etc, I think it has dated pretty badly.

    • I have been thinking about an 80s Indie James-themed post. Lloyd Cole. Woodentops. James, obviously. Erm…

      I had the opposite experience: i paid buttons and thought it still sounded pretty good. Tomahto/tomayto etc.

  2. The one to own was the US singles comp., “Well Well Well.” Those pre-“Giant” singles, produced by Andy Partridge were stellar.

  3. Listening to this again now with headphones, and I may have been a bit hasty in my earlier judgement. On tour next year with dates in London & Manchester.

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