Swell Maps C21 – ‘Polar Regions’ (2023)
Since original Swell Maps multi-instrumentalist Jowe Head began to re-establish his old late seventies group’s name (now accessorised with the added C21 adjunct to distinguish them from the original line up) they’ve undertaken a brace of live shows both around London, and up in Scotland where a couple of triumphant shows were carried out in Glasgow and Edinburgh with my long-running group The Thanes opening the proceedings. A fun and frivolity filled weekend was enjoyed by all!
With original ‘Maps Nikki Sudden and Epic Soundtracks now long deceased, Head thought to rope in former Television Personalities drumming bandmate Jeff Bloom, as well as Cult Figures and modern-day Alternative TV guitarist Lee McFadden, on bass, as well as adding in organist Lucy Rejchrtova to help him keep spreading the word.
This album’s performance, featuring the likes of Gina Birch (the Raincoats), Luke Haines (the Auteurs) and original ‘Map John (Golden) Cockrill on board, takes the listener on something of a thrill ride through such cool and fun back catalogue winners as their late 1977 debut single ‘Read About Seymour’, the calamitous sounding ‘Let’s Build A Car’, the magical air of ‘Cake Shop’ as well as other wild and woolly delicacies such as ‘Midget Submarines’ and ‘Helicopter Spies’; almost nearly everything played out with delightful giddy abandon.
What’s more there’s even a printed insert which has Thurston Moore from U.S. pre-Nirvana musical malcontents Sonic Youth waxing lyrical on the Swell Maps’ influence, not only upon his group but also on many other winners, and losers of the mid-to-late 1980s U.S. college and alternative rock scene. So you’d do well to spend some of your well-earned pennies on this platter and liven up your next little get together with friends. Rather!
Swell Maps C21 – ‘Polar Regions’ | Recorded Live at Cafe Otto, London December 3rd & 4th 2021 (Glass Modern)