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The Catenary Wires

Birling Gap

    Indie pop comes of age!

    Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey love pop songs, but pop songs with an edge. With their early bands Talulah Gosh and Heavenly, they were often dismissed by critics of the time as fey or ‘twee’, but this prejudice has since been revised: some of those sweet fizzy songs were about date-rape, and the band were an influential part of the movement that became riot grrrl.

    On their new album as The Catenary Wires, the songs are as strong as ever, full of sweet melody and rich with vocal harmonies. But the tunes are now vehicles for startlingly honest adult concerns: the fractured relationships, anxieties, passions and politics of people who live on an island that’s turning in on itself. Like the Go-Betweens and XTC before them, The Catenary Wires know that pop music can convey dark, sardonic, complex emotions, just as well as it can celebrate teenage angst.

    The album depicts England, not just in its lyrics, but in its music. The Catenary Wires have listened to the songs and stories England has comforted itself with over the decades, and re-imagined them. Canterbury Lanes presents a duetting couple, old now and worn down, but still aspiring to put their folk band back together, hoping to rekindle the idealistic flames of the early 1970s. Mirrorball, fizzy with syn-drums and Casio, presents another couple – middle-aged and unattached, who find unexpected love at a retro 80s disco. In the 70s-flavoured pop of Always on my Mind, love appears again, almost by surprise, conjured up by an old photo in a pile of memorabilia.

    The opening track, Face on the Rail Line, is a love song set in the now, full of emotion, but shot through with the paranoia that we all feel, living at a time when we are constantly in contact, but rarely communicate the truth. The last two songs on the album, Like the Rain, and The Overview Effect, are anxious romances, set in a fragile world.

    The Catenary Wires are now a five-piece band. The other members have impressive musical pedigrees of their own. Fay Hallam was in Makin’ Time, and now releases records in her own name. Andy Lewis played bass in the Weller Band, and has more recently worked with Louis Phillippe and Judy Dyble. Ian Button was in Thrashing Doves and Death in Vegas. These talented musicians elevate the songs, taking the arrangements onto another level.


    1. Face On The Rail Line
    2. Alpine
    3. Always On My Mind
    4. Mirrorball
    5. Three Wheeled Car
    6. Liminal
    7. Canterbury Lanes
    8. Cinematic
    9. Like The Rain
    10. The Overview Effect

    Swansea Sound

    Indies Of The World / Je Ne Sais Quoi

      Indies of the World is a call to arms. Its aim is to revitalise the Global Pop Underground, fortifying it as it prepares to vanquish the corporate behemoth. OK, it’s just a limited release 7” single. But the revolution has to start somewhere. Hue Williams and Amelia Fletcher of the Pooh Sticks were reunited earlier this year on the first Swansea Sound single Corporate Indie Band. It got a lot of attention - and airplay - and sold out in a few hours. Gideon Coe called it ‘excellent’ and played it half a dozen times. Pennyblack Music called it ‘magnificent’. This new single has the same energy and joy, combined with sardonic, sharp-edged lyrics. ‘Indies of the World’ is for record-lovers, indie dancefloors, non-corporate radio shows, and the flourishing online indie DJ/blogging scene. Flipside ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ is a fizzing duet in which feckless male Hue is berated by nonplussed female partner Amelia. It’s like ‘C is the Heavenly Option’ after a lovers’ tiff. Guitars and bass are by Rob Pursey (Heavenly, The Catenary Wires). Drums are by Ian Button (Death in Vegas, Papernut Cambridge). The sleeve design is by Swansea-based artist Catrin Saran James. Indies of the World, appropriately enough, will be released by four different Indie Labels of the World: UK, EUROPE – SKEP WAX (7” single – 150 copies). JAPAN – FORMOSA PUNK (7” single – 100 copies), USA – HHBTM (7” single – 150 copies). WALES – LAVENDER SWEEP (cassette – 50 copies). Swansea Sound want to celebrate the independent spirit all over the world. Swansea Sound are currently preparing an album for release on Skep Wax later in 2021. Along the way, there will be more inventive limited-release singles, keeping the band active and alive in indie imaginations.

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