Leatherface: Mush

Saturday, February 06, 2010



Unlike film, 2009 was a reasonable twelve months for music as my earlier post shows. Despite new delights I still find myself tracking back through my old albums and rediscovering the joys of youth and teenage angst. Leatherface’s 'Mush' is one prime example.

As a teen an early part time job was stacking shelves at William Low, which was a supermarket chain eventually swallowed up by Tescos; just like everything else nowadays. I had the strongman isle of baked beans and other tinned items that probably gave a better workout than most people at the local gym pay good money for today. Instead I was being paid! Ok, perhaps a small amount by today’s standards but nevertheless it financed my record collection. It always amazed me how many people bought ‘Cheesy Pasta’ and other nutrient devoid foodstuffs by the trolley load. However their lack of palate kept me in a job and surrounded with great music.

Where’s this tale going? Well during the evenings the shop closed, as this was an era without 24-hour stores or late night openings. To keep us occupied the store speaker system was tuned into the radio and our main choice was always Mark & Lard’s Hit The North show. The floor manager was still living in the 70’s, so we did have to endure some disco cassettes of funk and floor fillers best left in the past, yet we all loved that radio show. You just never knew what they were going to do and their playlist was daring and revolutionary compared to today’s radio.

Leatherface were regulars on the show, an ideal match for the its Northern emphasis, often playing live or phoning in before/after a gig.  This was often (from memory) in a phone box, set in the middle of nowhere as mobiles were very much a thing of the elite. Why Leatherface never received the sales or exposure they deserved isn’t a surprise. Frankie’s vocals are not for everyone and they were a group of Sunderland fans with a work ethic. Too often we  (the masses) are guilty of looking to America for bands or being swept away by another NME or Q inspired ‘Brit scene’. Leatherface just did what they loved and having seen them twice live they always put on a great show. Sadly more locals could have turned up to enjoy their tunes. I cannot think of many better gigs I’ve been to; with a pint in one hand and Leatherface playing their songs with passion and pride, you were swept away from the hassles of the world.

So Mush from 1991 is their masterpiece. From beginning to end it shows a band at the top of their game, opening with ‘I Want the Moon’ before hitting us with a series of great songs. Just some of the highlights are ‘How Lonely’, ‘Not A Day Goes By’, ‘Not Superstitious’, actually its much easier to say what isn’t worth hearing and there’s nothing! It’s a strong album from start to finish, with the ending being a distinctive cover of ‘Message In a Bottle’. Check it out.


On a related note the guys are currently on a North American tour and their new album is out on 22nd February and is available on this link.

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