siesta records
The lovely people at Siesta sent me a tape of some of their songs, a bunch of catalogues that I couldn't read because I don't read Spanish, and a spooky feeling that I was 17 again: Young, fragile and easily seduced by a brittle sounding song that talked about, well, being young, fragile and easily seduced by a brittle sounding... you get the idea.

Time arrived though when that brittle song thing wasn't enough, and in that time I hated groups like They Go Boom! (although the fact that they seem to have morphed into the Pet Shop Boys does them no harm at all), and thought Red Sleeping Beauty were bastards for taking their name from the most sublimely inspirational Pop song EVER (today and most days), only to supply a weak, limpid, washed our weariness. I'm still not sure if I forgive them.

However, that said, I cannot deny the fact that I'm still fragile at times, in places, and that I'm just a little confused by the way a song like Club 8's 'Breakdown' can make me go all weird. Maybe it's because it reminds me of Strawberry Switchblade's 'By The Sea', or April Showers. Maybe it's just the elliptical orbit of time and feeling taking it's toll.

Whatever. The real reason Siesta sent the tape was to make me listen to three songs by Arabesque, three songs that will be their next single, and to tell the world what I thought. So here goes:

Opener 'Love Is' is not quite, not for me at least, not now. In a past, maybe, the voice that floats here would have touched my heart and the words it sings would have brought smiles and sighs, but not now. Not today. Blame the weather, blame the way the sunlight flits across her skirt, blame the railings by the town hall. Blame me.

So it's not love, and that's a shame because there's a sound here that is. It's the sound the guitars make when they curl around the tide and pull me to the beach. It's the sway of hips and the tap of a painted fingernail on a green park bench. It's a sound that goes all the way through 'Love Is' and is nearly enough to make me believe, but there's a girl that won't allow it. This is me. My way of working out the world. You might possibly adore every breath and word.

Tape rolls on. Time rolls on, or around.

If this were 1983/84 then I'd be putting 'Pink Champagne' on a mix tape full of Weekend, Young Marble Giants, Marine Girls, Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt. It's definitely of that ilk, and this is just fine. This is just natural for the Blueboys I long ago eulogised for precisely those reasons. Call it a relaxing afternoon on the lawn. Call it the sparkle in the voice of the person who you (would) love to sit with in peaceful reverie. Call it pink champagne. Oh yeah, they just did.

Which leaves us 'The Rogue'. Who is the Rogue? What is the Rogue? It's an echo, a ghost wafting past with a knowing wink. It's evaporated alcohol. Heady and headed for the stars.

So there. That's Arabesque: Two out of three ain't bad, if you'll forgive the Meatloaf reference, and if this sneaks out before summer finally gives up the ghost then it'll be someone's tunes of daydreamed pleasures. Now, can I have some more Club 8 records please?

Alistair Fitchett. July 1997.