Record Review: Girls At Our Best! – Pleasure

Cherry Red ‎| UK | DLX RM CD | 2009 | CDMRED346

Girls At Our Best!: Pleasure UK CD [2009]

  1. Getting Nowhere Fast
  2. Warm Girls
  3. Politics!
  4. It’s Fashion
  5. Go For The Gold
  6. Pleasure
  7. Too Big For Your Boots
  8. I’m Beautiful Now
  9. Waterbed Babies
  10. Fun City Teenagers
  11. £600,000
  12. Heaven
  13. China Blue
  14. Fast Boyfriends
  15. She Flipped
  16. Goodbye To That Jazz
  17. This Train
  18. Fast Boyfriends [BBC]
  19. £600,000 [BBC]
  20. I’m Beautiful Now [BBC]
  21. Pleasure [BBC]
  22. Boys At their Best! [demo]

I first encountered Girls At Our Best some time in [was it] 1982 if not 1983. As ever, I kept an eye on the import cutout bins at Record City and I saw this album there. I may have seen a reference to the group in Trouser Press a little earlier, but by the time I bought their only album, it was a cutout import; probably $3.99 and complete with a “pleasure bag” inside stuffed with stickers, postcards and stencils to lure purchase. I also remember suggesting to my friend Tom that he might buy a copy, and I believe that he did. We both immediately enjoyed the album and that was it for nearly 30 years.

Wuxtry Athens that fateful day in 2010 when I bought the CD of this album

<fast forward 27 years…>

I was once again shopping in a store with Tom [and our wivesmy how things had changed] in 2010 and I came across the Cherry Red DLX RM of the “Pleasure” album and immediately grabbed it for purchase. I once again exhorted Tom to buy this album, now on CD, but can’t remember if he did or not. At the time, I had no idea that Vinyl Japan had reissued the album the first time on CD waaaaay back in [gasp] 1994! Of course it fits since at that time I was moving and buying my first [top of the line] Macintosh so I did not buy a lot of CDs released during that period. Of course, this CD had an additional five tracks, making it the one to get. Besides, it came with the original Sino Propaganda cover art, instead of the 1994 variation seen above.

The CD began with bonus tracks from singles that predated the album of 1981. The first single, “Getting Nowhere Fast” b/w “Warm Girls,” was still sporting a whiff of punk with vocalist Judy Evans’s vocals being the equivalent of one chord punk rock in their Post-Punk leanings than the mature GAOB sound allowed for. “Getting Nowhere Fast” was a fairly typical pre-New Pop Post-Punk with a cold ending to end all cold endings as the tune stopped dead with no warning at around 1:45. “Warm Girls” showed off the “choirboy” approach that Evans would soon adopt for the band’s remaining output; albeit with a warbling pitch control of great charm as her secret vocal weapon.

Single number two was “Politics!” b/w “It’s Fashion” and was a big step up in production caliber due to the presence of Laurence Diana, who would also helm their album. The A-side was a refinement of their early sound with Evans’ vocals more winning than ever. It was on the single’s B-side, that the band first discovered what would become a major component of their sound. “It’s Fashion” sported a singsong, chanted vocal delivery that recalled cheerleader cheers more than anything to do with rock music. Meanwhile, the members of the band seemed nonplussed by the stylistic shifts inherent in this “shakedown cruise” phase.

Their third single’s A-side was next in the flow. “Go For Gold” was more sophisticated with a downbeat verse structure followed by a major key chorus. The tune almost skirts a sort of Gang Of 4 disco sound with harsh guitar ganks rubbing shoulders with a disco rhythm section. The B-side was included on the album, so it was to follow later. As we are out of time today, thoughts on the album proper shall follow tomorrow…

Next: …But what about The Album?

 

 

 

About postpunkmonk

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8 Responses to Record Review: Girls At Our Best! – Pleasure

  1. Jon says:

    I’d never heard of them before 2006 or so when I ran across “Getting Nowhere Fast” on a music blog. By the time I got around to listening to the mp3, I’d forgotten its provenance, and for more than a year I thought it was a great current song. Needless to say, by the time the CD came around, I was wholly on board. I sort of remember in the couple years before 2009, it was available on vinyl only, way before download links accompanied vinyl releases.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jon – The only recent LP of that on Discogs was a fully blown reissue in 2014 on splatter vinyl plus bonus EP of bonus tracks and the pleasure bag! So it’s now full circle. On vinyl… Then no one can play it 30 years later. Then finally on CD… and 8 years later people can’t play CDs. If I were that type if person, I’d be inserting a sad emoticon right about here.

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  2. The Swede says:

    A great LP that I bought as a new release with the all important goodie bag! Although I still have a couple of the singles, I stupidly sold the album during a time of personal financial crisis in the 1990’s – what an idiot I was. I’ll have to hunt down a copy of that CD reissue.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      The Swede – I held onto my LP until such time that I bought the DLX RM CD. It was a few years later when I began to feel the need to divest of some of the music on the racks; if only to make room for more, much less financing many a concert trip with the sales of the large DM, DD + PSB collections.

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  3. Echorich says:

    Pleasure sits alongside albums by X-Ray Spex, Raincoats, Delta 5, Essential Logic, Kleenex/Lilliput…but Girls At Our Best had a certain ambition in their sound. Politics is the track they will likely always be known for but, Warm Girls sits well with anything off of the first two Magazine albums or Siouxsie And The Banshees from around the same time.

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  4. Going Nowhere Fast was the first song I heard from The Wedding Present, so naturally I have a soft spot for the GAOB version. But that photo of Wuxtry Athens! It was like staring into a TARDIS! Many happy memories of record buying in Athens.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – Only a record geek like myself would bother to take photos of record stores…even before I was blogging! Happy to oblige. I was with you the first time I visited Athens. Was that the time The Hate Bombs were playing the Beefstock Festival in ’94? Was that the same time we visited Naomi or was that earlier? As I recall, Bev also made that road trip with us for Beefstock. The photo above hailed from Anomaly 2: The Athens Adventure which you missed.

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