Album #133: The Candyskins – Sunday Morning Fever

  • Released: 1997
  • Origin: Oxford, England
  • Label: Ultimate
  • Best Track: Monday Morning

My daughter has taken a liking to the new Cbeebies programme Nick Cope’s Popcast, where the affable, bespectacled presenter quickly comes up with an acoustic song based on a theme given to him by a young viewer. If she’s enjoying a man playing a guitar, it’s a step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned. I had no idea who Nick Cope was though, so I thought I’d look him up.

It turns out he was the frontman for Britpop band The Candyskins, a band I think I should know, but don’t. They were one of several indie and rock bands to have come out of Oxford in the ’80s and ’90s, along with Supergrass, Ride, Swervedriver and of course Radiohead.

Sunday Morning Fever was their third album (their first two don’t seem to be on Apple Music) and spawned their only top 40 hit ‘Monday Morning’. That song is now ringing a few bells actually, and is a catchy number. I have vague memories of there being a glut of songs called ‘Monday Morning’ around this time, including a track from Pulp’s Different Class album, and there was No Doubt’s ‘Sunday Morning’ as well.

This song, and indeed the album, are quintessentially Britpop in any case, sounding like something straight off one of the Shine compilations. Riffs are simple and melodic, vocals are harmonic and deeply British, while lyrics centre mostly on that classic youthful raison d’etre of living for the weekend, then suffering for it during the week. Who can’t relate to a lyric like “Well anyone can make make mistakes/So help me out cos it’s going to take/A miracle to get me through the week”?

Songs like that and the lively ’24 Hours (U.S.E.D.)’ and ‘No No No’ take my fancy the most. Elsewhere, the band sound a little like The Levellers on tracks like opener ‘Mrs Hoover’ and ‘Hang Myself on You’, and acoustic closer ‘In My Hair’ sees the record out nicely.

It’s an odd feeling being introduced to Cope as a mild-mannered, grey-haired grandfather entertaining kids, then discovering he fronted a band from part of the scene that defined my youth in an earlier life, snarling his way through songs with names like ‘Disco Hell’ and ‘D.R.U.N.K.’. Clearly though, he’s always had a knack for coming up with a tune. The Candyskins don’t exactly stand out among the hordes of British bands that drove the sound of the ’90s, but there were certainly worse ones who got more airtime.

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