The Popguns - Lovejunky EP

matinée 091  /  October 2014
The Popguns - Lovejunky EP
7" red vinyl   $7.00

digital   $3.00

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The Popguns - Lovejunky EP

matinée 091  /  October 2014

A very welcome return for legendary British band The Popguns! Hailing from Brighton, England, the band’s debut single ‘Landslide’ was released in 1989 on the hip indie label Medium Cool Records and voted into John Peel’s Festive 50 by listeners of the BBC Radio 1 show. A rush of brilliant singles and albums over the next six years assured the band its place in indie history before they went on extended break. Sometime in 2012, the four original members reformed along with a new drummer and backing singer for a series of gigs and this year has seen them play to packed venues in London, Paris, Berlin, and New York, as well as the prestigious Indietracks Festival.

To commemorate this new activity, the band recently recorded its first new songs in 18 years for this exclusive 7” single. Lead track ‘Lovejunky’ is an immediate pop hit with incomparable soaring vocals from Wendy Pickles, driving guitars, an insanely catchy chorus, and superb harmonies. An absolutely glorious comeback, the song is a preview of a new Popguns album 'Pop Fiction' scheduled for release later this year.

The single also features two exclusive b-sides that will not appear on the new album. ‘Long Way To Fall’ is another power pop hit that could have been a single on its own. It has more of those signature Popguns vocals plus multiple loud guitars, fantastic melodies, and a fierce drumbeat. Final track ‘Home Late’ showcases an altogether more melancholy side of the band, with carefully strummed acoustic guitars and chiming female harmonies among its many charms.

Limited to 500 hand-numbered copies on cherry red vinyl, this is a magnificent return for The Popguns and another smash hit for Matinée.

  1. Lovejunky
  2. Long Way To Fall
  3. Home Late


The second song on their new EP reminds me of the last Hole song I ever liked, ‘Malibu’. We’ve been here before, but I make no apologies. Wendy’s voice still gets me – tears me apart – 25 years on. And maybe it gets me even harder these days, because it reminds me of all that I missed and all that I now miss. (You know what I miss most these days? Being unable to grab that iron bar in my hand and go around smashing clocks and fittings and walls, wrenching off bannisters from entire staircases. Being unable to stub that cigarette out on my arm. Punching walls. I can’t because I can’t let my kids see the marks.) You think I’m making this Song of the Day out of simple nostalgia? You’re wrong. Nostalgia is never simple. I want to dance and leap so high, I never come down. I have no idea about major and minor keys. I have no way of knowing what chords are played where. I just know there are certain notes when played in a certain sequence that cut me every time. I’m not sure why Wendy is singing of love and obsession and desire and pain in 2014 (I appreciate it’s a reference to the 1995 album) cos no one feels that shit any more, do they? (Wait. I’m starkly reminded of a beach in Hastings, last summer, England season time.) But I’m glad she is, but it feels so remote. The guitars do what the guitars must: and they tear me as well. The drums tear me. The bass that sounds like Girls At Our Best! The slightly clumsy middle-eight tears me. I mean, wow. The third song reminds me a little of The Seekers. You think that’s a diss? Are you crazy? A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that she left the coffee pot on all day, and had toast for dinner. These simple words made me miss Seattle so much. This song, this band make me miss Brighton so much it’s near unbearable. Song of the Day.   --Collapse Board
This marks the return of the mighty Popguns, it’s on Matinée Recordings and it kicks like a mule. ‘Lovejunky’ is your primed, loaded and ready for adoration pristine pop hand grenade ablaze in trimmings of power chord purrs, lost abandonment and the fleeting tug of memories of thoughtful lazy nights marooned around the bedroom dansette playing heyday Sarah records platters until the grooves wore flat. A three and a half minutes shoehorning of stand by swoons frantic toe tapping boog-a-loo that sweeps you off your feet peppers kisses upon your cheek and in the blink of an eye is gone, vamoosh, see ya – a kind of Darling Buds with tiny cute teeth if you must. Track of the day!   --God Is In The TV
Essentially, every band in history whose members are still alive has now reformed. Turned out that even the Stone Roses could find “reconcilable differences”, given appropriate (cough*financial*cough) incentives. When it comes to stubborn refusals to bow to public demand and regroup, we’re pretty much down to the fairly mighty triumvirate of the Jam, the Smiths and Bogshed (now that would be a bill to savour). There are pros and cons to the other 76,000,000 combos now being officially *BACK*. The downside is that barrels are being scraped and lilies are being gilded on an almost industrial scale, as out-of-town arenas flood with ragged troubadors performing greatest hits sets at £100 a throw, all the while stealing vital limelight from newer and hungrier talent. But there are upsides, too, thanks to the better groups, those who aren’t just resurfacing in order to milk the diehards for a second time, those for whom the chance of reunion has granted a new lease of life. And so it is for Brighton’s Popguns, who follow a well-received live return with a new 7” single courtesy of our friends across the water in Santa Barbara, a single that effortlessly reconstructs the shimmering song structures of porky prime Popguns back in the day; that in doing so takes some of us, of a certain age, back to the very uncertain time of our teenage years… Us boys were split pretty much down the middle. In the first or second years of big school, the great divide was broadly between whether you played football at break time, or played Dungeons & Dragons instead. By the sixth form though, both jumpers for goalposts and many-sided dice had been jettisoned, for the lure of music proved too much, and with it came a new schism – basically, whether you were “indie”, or whether you were… Deacon Blue and T’Pau. Within the former camp, the Popguns were surprisingly popular – I say “surprisingly” not because they weren’t ace, but because despite being a band who never grazed the hallowed top 75, there were a good half-dozen of us who bought all their records - and a few more who taped them off us (shhh) - which put them probably only behind the Stone Roses, Depeche Mode and the Wedding Present in popularity (um, it was a broad church). The upshot of this was that when the Popguns played the Y Club, it would have been treated as an epiphany, and an admiring phalanx of local schoolboys would doggedly trail there to watch, cradling cider and blackcurrant and a distant, nagging fear of A-levels. So this new single hoves benignly into view, and although this is a cliché which we yearn to avoid, it’s thoroughly necessary on this occasion: it’s as if they’d never been away. As if the years from your own schooldays to your kids’ schooldays had somehow never happened, and you were still… oh, I don’t know, getting on the bus with the “Still A World Away” 12” in a carrier bag, ready to enthuse and share by the time you made it to the playground; or getting an earful off your mum for turning the volume up to 11 for the lustrous closing minute or so of “Someone You Love”; or scribbling “Popguns - Landslide” on the postcard of your personal top 3 that you’d wing off to Peel around the start of Advent (I used my very neatest handwriting, given who I was sending it to, although I am bound to confess that I had “Sensitive” as my no.1). “Lovejunky” the song rings with the same dapper verses and the same triumphant-sounding choruses as the Popguns’ earlier suite of singles (with which we're intimately acquainted; there was a summer when a much-prized copy of “Eugenie” span near-endlessly on the CD player), Wendy singing with a familiar conviction and verve over the usual melodic yet ripplingly-muscled guitar lines. The song is all about coming back for more, and feels as if it's about the band reforming, about their need to revisit past experiences and perhaps taste new ones too. The arrangement is just the ticket, especially after the second chorus yields to another insistent guitar part and the hooks, emotions and extra vocal lines dance, cascade and crash for a glorious finale. As a taster for the imminent album, the smartly-titled comeback “Pop Fiction”, the song sets precisely the right tone. “Long Way To Fall”, the second tune, is nearly as good; definitely A-side quality too. This time, the verse positively rattles away, led by a fearless and feral bassline, as Wendy pours almost joyful scorn on the protagonist before another big chorus spirals up from the horizon to envelop said protagonist completely. Mind you, the third and final track on the EP changes tack entirely: “Home Late” is a soft and mellow vignette, a wonderfully evocative lyric sheltering under the awnings as drizzly night falls, and with the sweetest of backing vocals. The confident shift in gear – from barnstormery to balladry, if you like - bodes well for that pending LP. So we smile, and slip the record back into its sleeve. Even in our most vividly retro dreams we hadn’t necessarily seen a new 7” by the Popguns coming, least of all on one of our favourite 21st century record labels. The single’s still going round in our heads. But outside, this weather’s getting ever-greyer and ever-wetter. The leaves that had fallen have turned from slippery yellow on rain-specked pavements to half-swept sludge and mud. There’s no way we’re going out tonight, Wendy. But we do have plans for the coming weekend. Thought we’d treat ourselves, in our dotage. For we plan to see a band… some band called the Popguns. Apparently they’ve reformed, you know. The cider and black’s on me.   --In Love With These Times, In Spite Of These Times
It's difficult to tell whether Matinée Records have a close ear to the ground, waiting patiently for the first signs that any underrated indiepop bands from the past are ready to reform, or whether they have a knack of coaxing groups back together to relive former glories. And reliving former glories is the least you could say, for it's rare that any of these comeback releases are a let-down in any way. We'll go for the ear to the ground option as a guess for their involvement in Brighton guitar-poppers' The Popguns first single in 18 years. The band's four original members reunited in 2012 along with a new drummer and backing singer and have since packed in some impressive gigs. The music almost doesn't require an explanation; you can guess what it's like. The only issue is whether this is a lightweight comeback or the announcement of a storming return. It's the latter, naturally. If ever their name suited them, then it's on 'Lovejunky', as they shoot a honey-coated blast of powerpop at our ears, scoring a direct hit. Melody spills over the sides, sparkles fly from its tail and it's so infectious it should probably be kept in quarantine. But anyone can knock together a decent track in that amount of time, right? Well, maybe, but they've only been a band again for two years, and on 'Long Way To Fall' they repeat the trick with some added lead guitar (think J Mascis had he been in The Primitives) and the giddy buzz is just as effective as the lead track. On 'Home Late' (both B-sides are exclusive to the single and won't be on forthcoming album 'Pop Fiction'), we're treated to the sweetest of comedowns as the guitars switch to a more jangling and acoustic style and the song is heavy on the tune front. The harmonies are the cherry on top of the icing on the cake, and if they can afford to reserve material of this calibre as a B-side, that album will have been worth every second of its near two-decade wait.   --Sounds XP
Guitar-driven, harmony laden pop. There is nothing like it. And you cannot get a better example of it, straight from the eighties, than The Popguns. They released their first single back in 1989 and garnered a lot of praise, being voted into John Peel’s Festive 50 by listeners of the BBC Radio 1. After a very long hiatus, the band reformed in 2012 and have now released their new single “Lovejunky”. It’s a heady rush of jingle-jangly chords and the lovely earnest singing of Wendy Pickles. Personally, I think it brilliant that a band can return after such a long break with its artistic integrity fully intact and sounding as fresh as they ever did. The single is a precursor to an album later this year, but if you buy the single you will get two lovely songs that won’t be on the album: “Long Way to Fall” and “Home Late”. The former is another fast-paced chiming pop hit, the latter a more reflective ballad, but both equally brilliant. and capable of being singles in their own right. This single package will be available from Matinée Records as a limited 500 hand-numbered release on cherry red vinyl as well as a digital download.   --Backseat Mafia
Remember back in June when I was fawning over a stream of "Lovejunky," the first new song from Popguns in nearly two decades? Well, Matinée Recordings has just announced the arrival of the 7", and it's a real corker. A couple of things to keep in mind: The physical release is on cherry-red vinyl and limited to 500 hand-numbered copies. If you're saying, "So what? That song is going to show up on 'Pop Fiction,' the band's full-length album out later this year... I can wait," then shame on you. Don't you remember what it's like to actually hold a single in your hand and to gaze at the picture sleeve as the record spins seductively? And believe me, as you can see above, this cover is a beautiful piece of art. Do I sound like an old coot? OK, then, how about this? There are two B-sides, and neither one of the songs will be on 'Pop Fiction.' Mmm-hmm. Thought that might get your attention. I have had the good fortune of hearing "Long Way To Fall" and "Home Late," and let me tell you, if these are the songs that didn't make the album, we are in for a real treat. Matinée is selling the "Lovejunky" single exclusively for the next two weeks before your local mom-and-pop shop gets a crack at some copies, but I suggest you don't wait around for that. Give the A-side another listen right now, then get to the label's online shop.   --Linear Tracking Lives
I can actually pinpoint the very first time I heard The Popguns. Maybe not to the exact day but I have memories of it. It was on John Peel in 1990-something. Maybe 1991. I used to have a tape ready to record songs and if he mentioned the next track and it sounded interesting I'd have to react quickly to record it. I'd sometimes miss the start and I'd often get part of his talking over the beginning or end of the song. He introduced the next song as "Where Do You Go?" by The Popguns and I clicked the record button. Actually, I clicked both play and record as that was the way to record onto a tape on my old midi-system. I can still remember the sound of his voice just after it ended as it was there on the tape every time I listened to it and I used the tape on multiple rounds. I don't know what happened to the tape - maybe my car stereo ate it up sometime in the late 90s. Maybe I threw it out last year when I moved to Australia and realised I had most of the songs on the computer so old tapes wouldn't get much play anymore espeically as my old midi-system had just kicked the bucket too. It used to be hard work finding music in those days as there was no internet and most kids I knew liked heavy metal and thought indie music was for massive wimps so weren't about to give me tips about any indie bands. The radio was hugely important in finding new music in those days and there weren't many places where you might find something different so John Peel's radio show was ideal. A few weeks after hearing them for the first time, I got to see The Popguns live. I reckon it was in the first ten gigs I ever saw - right at the time that I was first getting excited about music and bands. They played first at ULU with The Frank and Walters and The Cardiacs. I hadn't really heard The Cardiacs before apart from this one song on the same tape that I'd also taped off John Peel. It was called "Is This The Life". I loved that song but it was the only one I knew and when I watched them I really didn't get them. The songs were all stop-starty and everyone seemed old to a 15 year old (the band had formed in 1977!) and they had this kind of cult status - everyone seemed to know the words apart from me and my friend Dan. I did get into them later though and bought a tape called "A Little Man A House And The Whole World Window". I know where that tape is - it's downstairs on a bookshelf as one of a few old tapes I still have from that time as most of the time I bought records. When The Popguns had played that night the place was just starting to fill up. We stood near the stage. It was good. Wendy's voice sounded amazing. They played all the hits. They even played "Where Do You Go?". Anyway, fast forward 20-something years and The Popguns are active again. They have a new single. It's good, it's really good. It sounds like it could have been on "Snog". It's melancholy and full of lovely harmonies, and as good as any of their best songs. Wendy's vocals still sound great and it's lyrically full of that wistful nostalgia that I always associated with The Popguns. The other two tracks are again laced with melancholy - a little less catchy but still a fine pair of songs. The Popguns haven't really changed despite the years that have gone by. Welcome back.   --Collective Zine
The Lovejunky 7″ contains the first new Popguns songs for 18 years. Whilst that is a long time The Popguns sound hasn’t changed one bit. Phew. The label claims it’s a smash hit. Who am I to disagree? Classic, vintage indiepop. It’s out on limited edition cherry red vinyl and the title track is backed with ‘Long Way To Fall’ and ‘Home Late’. Neither of these tracks will appear on the forthcoming ‘Pop Fiction’ album. Lovejunky is out now on Matinée Recordings.   --Records I Like
It seems like it’s been far too long since our friends at Matinée Recordings have unleashed something new on the masses, but they’re now ready with the much anticipated return of The Popguns. The Brighton act had largely been quiet until the last few years, tweaking their line-up a tad, and writing their first new material in 18 years. This single is the feature on the group’s Lovejunky EP; the shimmering guitar work has this attraction you can’t deny and Wendy’s voice has this matured innocence to it that’s inescapable. You’ll be able to get your hands on one of the rare cherry red 7″, numbered by hand, but you better act quick because songs like this get a lot of love.   --Austin Town Hall
Where have The Popguns been all of my life?!?! This feels like the most absurd oversight in my personal music history. I remember seeing their albums and singles in the bins at great record stores like the Ooze, 2nd Avenue, and the import section at Tower Records back in the early 90s. I’m sure I read about them in all the music magazines I read or used to read. Yet for some reason, I never knowingly heard them. That is until this fall. I guess that is one huge advantage of technology. Back then, there was little chance of actually hearing lesser publicized music that was sealed inside a vinyl jacket, or plastic CD case on the shelves of the better shops, so one had to stumble upon things by chance, or by taking the risk of purchasing unheard (I’m sure there are other options, but in my world, there was a lot of debate over which record I’d never heard I desired more – based solely on word of mouth). When the “Lovejunky” 7” appeared as a new release from the wonderful indie pop label Matinée Recordings a couple of months back, all I had to do was click a button on my computer screen to quash my curiosity. Let’s just say that the candy red colored vinyl was ordered right away. The bright effervescent pop sound of The Popguns reminds me of why I loved Echobelly so much. “Lovejunky” is upbeat, exciting, jammed with chiming catchy guitars and Wendy Pickles’ yearning yet smiling vocals, which in my distorted mind feel like a perfect blend of Echobelly’s Sonya Madan and Swing Out Sister’s Corrine Drewery (keep in mind that I have not heard SOS’s continuing career since about 1987, but see my love of their single “Breakout” elsewhere). Echobelly may have climbed up and over the Popguns back to get the small level of notoriety they achieved a few years deeper into the 90s. Whatever the case, they are back and I am fully on board and asking for more, much like the protagonist of “Lovejunky.” The two non-LP B-sides here are so damn good that this 7” is a necessity. The absolutely rocking “Long Way to Fall” has a massive chorus that feels like it’s been part of my personal soundtrack of super hits for as long as I can remember. This song should be marketed as a single by itself! The final clincher is the acoustic “Home Late,” which has the magical jangling intricacy of The Sundays and a rainy day quality that always feels comforting.   --This Wreckage
The return of Brighton's beloved The Popguns in 2012 was warmly welcomed by indie pop fans. But not content with adding a new drummer, a background singer and playing their old material, the band's return takes a big step forward this year with the release of new music. If ‘Pop Fiction’, the LP to be released near the end of the year, is the main course, then this month's “Lovejunky” 7" is the perfect appetizer. The title track is the sort of up tempo guitar pop on which The Popguns earned their fame: Note perfect and sincerely affecting vocals over loud guitars and muscular power chords. I don't know about you, but if The Popguns and I were standing in a downpour and Wendy started singing about what a sunny day we were enjoying, I might start applying sunscreen. One of the dual B-sides, "Long Way to Fall", is a top track in its own right. On "Home Late", the second B-side, The Popguns change pace for a gentle and sweet closer, featuring female vocals over an acoustic guitar. Few bands have enough writing prowess to create tracks such as "Long Way to Fall" and "Home Late" as B-sides. However, note that the B-sides won't be on ‘Pop Fiction’, so you can only have them by acquiring the “Lovejunky” 7". The single is officially released on October 12 by Matinée Recordings but pre-orders are now available, and releases like this tend to be snapped up all too quickly. If you wait, the vinyl will be gone. Fortunately, it also is a digital release.   --When You Motor Away
In another example of creaking 80's indie-poppers getting back together once their kids have grown up, Brighton's The Popguns dust down their guitars and power pop licks and deliver a tough and durable slice of pop. The type of thing that may have graced the lower edges of the indie charts back in the day.   --Norman Records
La lunga parentesi silenziosa della Matinée Recordings è finalmente terminata, nel migliore dei modi poi: dopo 18 anni i The Popgungs, eroi guitar-pop di Brighton, pubblicano un nuovo singolo, l'esplosiva Lovejunk. Il 7" uscirà per la nostra favorita Matinée in edizione limitata di 500 copie con un bel vinile rosso-ciliegia. Attivi fino a metà degli anni '90 i The Popguns, in formazione originale (più nuovi elementi), hanno ripreso a suonare insieme dal 2012. Lovejunky è il simbolo di questa "rinascita", un brano che presenta fin dal primo ascolto le caratteristiche del classico: power pop travolgente, melodie e cori che si appiccicano e non vanno più via con chitarre e basso incalzanti e la voce di Wendy che ci porta in paradiso. Il brano anticipa un disco di futura pubblicazione di cui già conosciamo il titolo, ovvero "Pop Fiction" Sono presenti anche due ottime b-sides a completare il gradito ritorno. Long Way To Fall, con chitarrone solide, melodiche e carburate che spiccano sulla linea ritmica che non molla di un colpo. Home Late è favola elettro-acustica che abbassa i toni e ci conduce tra il sogno e l'incanto. Un ritorno preziosissimo!   --Troublezine