Remember Fun - Train Journeys EP

matinée 015  /  May 2001
Remember Fun - Train Journeys EP
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Remember Fun - Train Journeys EP

matinée 015  /  May 2001

Remember Fun were a Scottish band formed in the mid-1980's who aligned themselves with contemporaries the Close Lobsters and the Church Grims in believing pop music could have a bitter edge. Following a string of accomplished demos, they appeared first on a Sha La La flexi with a song called "Hey Hey Hate" in 1986. Two compilation tracks followed: "Clearly Blurred" on an Airspace charity LP in 1987; then "Cold Inside" on the Egg Records 12" "A Lighthouse in the Desert" in 1988. The following year, they made a recording of their most accessible song to date called "Train Journeys." It should have taken the world by storm but sadly never made it to proper release. Instantly memorable, the song features shimmering guitars, honest vocals and a superb beefy bass. Perfectly capturing the disaffection of youth, the song deserved to be heard by everyone. So here it is - 12 years on - coupled with two more unreleased tracks plus a magnificent obscurity from the band's past.

  1. Train Journeys
  2. Doze Off Them
  3. Three Chers (When She's Dead)
  4. Car


Remember Fun were a fine gang of Glasgow lads made most infamous perhaps for their 'Hey Hey Hate' which graced one of the semi-mythic Sha-La-La label flexi discs. Remember Fun had a fine line in scathing social and political lyrics wrapped in deceptively sweet tunes, and they were one of many groups who drew inspiration from the Postcard scene of the early '80s. Like seeing their peers The Visitors at last gain recognition (through their Miss collection also released by Matinée), it's rewarding, if somewhat odd, to have a 'new' CD with the name Remember Fun on the sleeve, and if I have to say that I still prefer the older demo version of 'Train Song' to the released one, well that's perhaps just me being elitist. Or perhaps isn't... Now all we need is for someone to release those Church Grims demos on CD.   --Tangents
Continuing our tradition of reviewing things many years after they came out. This was always going to be (once we ambled upon it) an essential purchase, remembering as we did the slick strum of "Hey Hey Hate", so long ago we hardly dare to remember. In the interregnum, they have lost the exclamation mark (I'm sure they used to be called Remember Fun!) but all else remains thankfully intact. "Train Journeys" is, I think, the killer track, attacking from the start. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it reminds me of the awe I felt when I first uncovered new groups on demos and flexis back in the (c.1987) day - or when harvesting the wheat that was hidden away on every compilation tape amongst all the chaff. It's more conventionally jangly than "Hey Hey Hate", recalling early Hellfire Sermons, and yes, The Church Grims (who were always the June Brides doing the Close Lobsters) but without the brass. Like second song "Doze Off Them", which is musically slightly more pedestrian, it seeks to rail (sorry) against the monotony of daily commuterdom, but without sacrificing any of the de rigeur capricious wit ("time on my hands, I'll dig myself a moat") in describing the singer's attempts to escape "this routine life". After "Three Chers" (sic), a Morrissey-style paean of hate (I'm guessing to the ever-deserving target of Mrs. T) the closing "Car" also doesn't do badly - again, revelling in the jangle of The Smiths but with a more sardonic vocal and (I trust) the tongue-in-cheek exhortation "convenience is my number one concern... It's better killing the earth than killing myself": again, the mix of black humour in the lyrics helps raise the song above many of the po-faced indie bands of yore. Sadly, it appears that Remember Fun(!) are indeed no more - this sparkling cd-s being a one-off exhumation of the kind of talent that once seemed two-a-penny, and in doing so serving to remind us of the state we're in now.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
I don't Remember Fun. But thanks to Jimmy at Matinée we all get our chance to. Supposedly this band had a lot of "lost" material out, so why they opted for a 4 song re-release I don't know. I read them getting compared to the rest of the Scotland scene, comparisons to the Close Lobsters especially, but only on the edges I think. On Doze Off Them I think I'm hearing more of the Trash Can Sinatras actually (ALOT actually, and I love the song), and I think their lead singer sounds indeed a bit like Frank Reader from TCS. (at least in his drawl, brogue or whatever it's called. Lets say accent) The first cut Train journeys is supposed to be THE song on this release, but actually I like the other stuff as much if not more actually. I loved the Lobsters, and TCS so it isn't too surprising I like this release an awful lot, only I can't help having some remorse as to why only 4 songs were put on it. Anybody got more, wanna trade???   --Indie Spinzone
The first two tracks (including the title track, recorded in '89) recall the more shimmering elements of The Smiths circa "Cemetry Gates" or "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" (as opposed to "How Soon Is Now?") with a vocalist that reminds me of Billy Bragg somewhat. The third song moves closer to that swirling pop of the early 90s (which is probably when it was recorded), while the last track is more shimmering than swirly but still seems to date from the 90s.   --Shredding Paper
Fans of 80s indiepop may remember Remember Fun. They had a split flexi on Matt Haynes' pre-Sarah flexi label Sha-la-la, and they also appeared on one of Chris Mabbs' compilation tapes (Corrupt Postman if I remember rightly). Possible they were on other comps I didn't know about, but then there was nothing for years. Jimmy at Matinée managed to track them down and released a 4-song CD by them, Train Journeys. The music is, as you'd expect, archetypal mid-80s indiepop, and it's brilliant stuff! If Remember Fun have any other songs stashed away I hope somebody will release them!   --Aquamarine
Matinée's surprised us with another blast from the past, this time from Remember Fun, a late 80s Scottish band that released about three songs (on a Sha La La flexi and two comps) before disappearing. So, I guess that this 4-song ep doubles their output, right? The lead track was recorded back in '89 (I think the others are older, too, but I'm not sure), and was meant to be released as a single, but never made it. It's excellent jangle pop that that period was known for. "Doze Off Them" is a bit slower and quieter, but still nice, though I'm not into the following track, "Three Chers (When She's Dead)", which is a bit dull. The final track is another classic upbeat tune. No word on if these guys are planning to record or release new material, but if anyone can get them to do it, it's Jimmy!   --IndiePages
Hey! It's summer, and we're listening to a rather jaunty Billy Bragg song. Or is it The Jam? Actually, it's neither, though Remember Fun's music seems to: have been informed by Bragg and The Jam's jauntiest moments. At first, Remember Fun sounds like a second-rate '80s retro-schtick band, but closer examination reveals that these recordings do, in fact, date from 1989. Rather than copyists, Remember Fun are actually the real deal. The title track, "Train Journeys", isn't really as much of a world-beater as the band's PR would have you believe. It sounds a lot like it should be the title theme to a show about student share-houses, and is outclassed by the EP's remaining three songs. Particularly worthy of your attention is "Three Chers (When She's Dead)", a laid-back tune that moves towards the echoing shores of shoegazer-pop with a sureness that most bands in that genre can't manage. "Doze Off Them" could, with stronger vocals, be something ripped from Morrissey's Bona Drag sessions.   --Splendid
Cheery stuff from back in the day when the little island over there was producing great bands like nobody's business. You coulda stumbled into a pub, drunk off your rocker and seen god knows who: The June Brides, Visitors, Shop Assistants, Orchids and maybe even Remember Fun. There's four songs on here and I like every one of them, mainly for the superb jangly guitar playing. I wonder if Jimmy will unearth more of this band's recordings?   --Dagger
Mid-80s Scottish band's never before released single, dark and fuzzy guitar pop recalls Close Lobsters and the C-86 scene.   --Parasol
Os escoceses do Remember Fun é mais uma daquelas guitar bands que não deram em nada e acabaram sendo esquecidas com o decorrer do tempo. Também pudera, o som deles não é nada revolucionador, nada que poderá um dia mudar a vida de alguém, é apenas mais um bom guitar pop derivativo dentre o oceano de bandas do mesmo estilo que invadiram a ilha britânica de 86 a 92. Eles lançaram na época um flexi pelo cult indiepop label Sha-La-La e mais três faixas em diferentes compilações. E isso foi tudo. Ao gravarem a melhor canção da banda até então, eles separaram-se e "Train Journeys" ficou escondida em cassetes feitas por fissurados em raridades P!O!P!. A gravadora americana Matinée, cotinuando seu trabalho de resgatar pérolas perdidas do guitar pop, lança esse single que traz "Train Journeys" e mais trës canções inéditas até então. "Train Journeys" tem guitarras jangle pop e boa melodia, uma espécie de encontro da melhor fase dos Byrds com Go-Betweens ou mesmo Close Lobsters. Poderia estar entre as melhores faixas da compilação "Sound of Leamington Spa". "Doze off Them" e "Three Chers (When She`s Dead)" são mais lentas, meio arrastadas e incorporam influências das bandas mais melancólicas da Sarah Records, como Orchids e Harvest Ministers. "Car" tem ritmo mais upbeat, guitarras cintilantes e atualmente é a minha predileta do EP. Para fãs de: Close Lobsters, The Haywains, The Orchids, Go-Betweens.   --Esquizofrenia
In mijn recensie van de 14 Iced Bears-reissue-CD vroeg ik me al af of er nog meer voor mij onbekende 80s-bands zouden zijn. Het antwoord is natuurlijk ja, zo laat deze single met opnames uit 1989 van het Schotse Remember Fun zien. Met de vier nummers op deze single wordt de totale release-output verhoogd tot zeven (!) nummers. Jammer genoeg zijn dat er niet meer want de Smiths-achtige indiepop klinkt best leuk, vooral het titelnummer, dat zo had gepast op het zo geweldige debuut van The Saturday People.   --Think Small