Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter B, Part 25)

This is going to be short because, frankly, there isn't much history to rehash when it comes to Bubblegum Splash. The Salisbury band was only together for a year, and their entire discography was seven songs. Although seemingly a mere footnote, however, they were on the Subway Organisation, and that means Bubblegum Splash had to be something special. Label founder Martin Whitehead knew how to pick 'em, and I hope by the end of this series you agree. Bubblegum Splash is the first of at least seven Subway bands I plan to feature.

Bubblegum Splash can be described as lo-fi garage... really lo-fi... and that's the charm. Nikki, the lead singer, joined Bubblegum Splash when the lads spotted her at a pub in a Jesus and Mary Chain T-shirt. Hardly a resume for fronting a band, but that's mid-'80s indie for you. Nikki wasn't exactly brimming with confidence, and she often sang behind a curtain during practice and turned her back on the audience at gigs. There were shows with the Pastels, Talulah Gosh, Vaselines, Darling Buds and Flatmates. Greats, one and all, and Bubblegum Splash fits in well with this lot.

Today's pick is Subway 13, the "Splashdown" EP from 1987. You'll hear some Shop Assistants and Swell Maps in these four very very quick songs. Marty, credited as the tambourine player on the 7", recalls this set being recorded the day Andy Warhol died. This turned out to be Bubblegum Splash's 15 minutes of fame. "Splashdown" peaked at No. 15 on the indie chart.

"Plastic Smile"
"Just Walked Away"
"Fast of Friends"
"One of Those Things"


George said...

The singer turned their back on the audience? Standard practice at Fall gigs!And that 3rd track you've posted, that IS brief.

Brian said...

Hey George. I suspect Mark E. Smith didn't turn his back because he was shy. A two-minute song by Bubblegum Splash would be long winded.

The Swede said...

An audio time-capsule. I suspect many small towns up and down the British Isles in 86/87 were home to bands made up of local youths sounding a lot like these guys - I certainly remember a few in my neck of the woods. These tunes put a big smile on my face. My only question is - why the fades?

JC said...

Quite incredibly....all four of these songs are out there on you tube (and thus can be easily downloaded!!).

Hadn't heard of them before. There's a certain charm about the music but Niki really can't sing.....