Drinking Electricity ‘Cruising Missiles’ UK 7″ single (Pop:Aural, POP 008, 1980)

Smash Hits magazine has a lot to answer for, let me tell you. An ostensibly mass-market, teen-focussed glossy fortnightly publication, its modern day equivalent would barely be worth a glance, filled no doubt with focus-grouped fodder dreamt up in high-security labs to a weapons-grade mass appeal, if vapid in content. But in its prime, how much oddness did the magazine help to foist upon eager young ears? I can’t imagine the modern-day equivalent of something as obscure as a Drinking Electricity scoring such prime-time coverage. Perhaps the persuasive manner of Bob Last, for it is he of the Pop:Aural label (and earlier Fast Product pedigree) that was home to this post’s musical goodies, that levered the band such a space?

The article in question is reproduced below. As you might guess, it was enough to foster my curiosity and to urge my feet of a Saturday afternoon to yonder record shop to fetch ‘Cruising Missiles’. Not because I had heard it. Noooo… Simply because… well… it all looked and sounded so damn interesting. As it happened, I could only come across ‘Cruising Missiles’, ‘Shake Some Action’ would have to wait till another time

Drinking Electricity 'Cruising Missiles' pictures sleeve design - front
^ Drinking Electricity ‘Cruising Missiles’ pictures sleeve design – front

Having risked a hefty chunk of that week’s pocket money on the disc, was it any good? Not half. A catchy, if clipped and precise, linear slab of instrumental guitar and drum machine action on the A side, the B side a ‘dub’ version of an earlier single, their interpretation of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates ‘Shakin’ All Over’ – scratchy and anaemic, pale and interesting, ’60s rock ‘n’ roll dissected on the microscope slide for closer inspection.

Drinking Electricity 'Cruising Missiles' pictures sleeve design - rear
^ Drinking Electricity ‘Cruising Missiles’ pictures sleeve design – rear

The band would later release a handful of singles and one LP, none of which as far as I know have ever surfaced on CD, so you’re going to have to keep with the vinyl for these. But they may not be cheap – the vogueish banner of minimal synth/minimal wave has scooped up Drinking Electricity to its latter day ranks and a scour of eBay reveals some eye-wateringly exaggerated prices for some of their releases currently!

Drinking Electricity 'Smash Hits' Independent Bitz report November 1980
^ Drinking Electricity ‘Smash Hits’ Independent Bitz report November 1980

Enjoy before the missiles land…

2 Replies to “Drinking Electricity ‘Cruising Missiles’ UK 7″ single (Pop:Aural, POP 008, 1980)”

  1. Smash Hits deserves no scorn; it simply reflects its times. The truth of the matter was that from ’79-’83, the magazine was golden, simply because of the calibre of the music it covered. True, the initial editors had excellent taste and the magazine exposed a lot of left field material and didn’t talk down to its readership. In The States, Smash Hits was seen as quite the New Wave magazine for hipsters – not a pre-teen fan mag like 16 or Tiger Beat. You could read about coke snorting hippies in Rolling Stone, but Smash Hits offered up a smorgasbord of exotic UK music acts that were pushing the Post-Punk envelope. I found it the next best mag to read other than Trouser Press.

    But you’re right on the “minimal synth” bandwagon. For decades only I’ve cared about these records until some wag manufactured a trend ex post facto with the single goal of unloading his unpopular New Wave also ran records at an obscene profit; the verminous scum!!

  2. Ah, any scorn was not directed at SH… more aimed at the modern day manufactured pap a la Simon Cowell’s tyranny. Still have boxes of SH that I dip into every so often… I should scan more select items to accompany some of these posts…

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