20 Albums you may not have heard, Championed by 20 musicians you really should have.
11. PACIFIC STREET BY PALE FOUNTAINS (1984, EMI)
RECOMMENDED BY JAMES DEAN BRADFIELD, MANIC STREET PREACHERS
If you consider the year, Liverpool [where Pale Fountains were from] in particular was having a traumatic time with the Thatcher government. However, this record sounds unbelievably wistful, but optimistic at the same time. I remember hearing it for the first time on the Janice Long evening session show. It was original in the sense it felt like they had formed their own genre; with twangy guitars and a mariachi horn, it was a combination of scouse, spaghetti western and soul, influenced by the band Love. The standout tracks for me were “You'll Start a War”, “Faithful Pillow, Part 1”, “Something on My Mind”, “Reach” and “Beyond Fridays Field”. It was the lyrics, which obliquely referred to how ordinary people were trying to survive and struggling under that government, but it's not so dogmatic as to be obvious. That's the impression I got from the whole record, that there was something going on behind the curtains, but it was done in a very subtle sense. These scousers were making music that reeked of ambition. When I listen to Pacific Street now, it reminds me you can make optimistic records in pretty traumatic times. There is another way to convey anger or disappointment rather than just rage; this is more eloquent, perhaps.