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
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 ‘Shakinâ€™ All Over’ – scratchy and anaemic, pale and interesting, ’60s rock ‘n’ roll dissected on the microscope slide for closer inspection.
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!
Enjoy before the missiles land…