♪ Random Record A Day #6: Love Sculpture – Sabre Dance / Think Of Love (SP, 1968)
Love Sculpture – Sabre Dance
b/w Think Of Love
(SP, 1968, Parlophone)
Today’s entry is brought to you by my good friend Freda, via the highly scientific method of picking a number. I have to say I laughed out loud at the name of the band (which I’d never heard of before), but then as we found out yesterday, I have a very dirty mind indeed.
So, Love Sculpture (1966 – 70) were a hard blues rock band from Cardiff (go Wales!), which according to my research (ie, wikipedia) were basically guitarist Dave Edmunds and his backing band. Their music generally consisted of blues standards, done harder and faster than usual. They released two albums – Blues Helping (1968) and Forms and Feelings (1970) – and two singles. Sabre Dance actually made it to #5 in the UK charts, with a little help from John Peel who gave the single lots of airplay. He also gave the band three Peel Sessions in two years. However, further fame was not to beckon and after touring their second album in the US, they split. Edmunds went on to release a wildly popular version I Hear You Knocking (yes, that version) and later formed the band Rockpile with Nick Lowe.
I love a good guitar-driven rock instrumental (think The Just Brother’s Sliced Tomatoes or The Virtues’ Guitar Boogie Shuffle). I absolutely hate guitar wankery (think John Squire’s noodling at the end of the album cut of Love Is The Law*, or the more, erm, ‘excessive’ parts of Second Coming – ahhhh coke, you’ve a lot to answer for). And there’s a pretty fine line between the two.
Happily, this is a simply splendid interpretation of the above-mentioned piece, and firmly in the camp of the former. It’s what I’d imagine would happen if you locked The Shadows in a cellar, forced mushrooms and speed down their throats and up their noses, convinced them a zombified Cliff Richard was coming to get them, and told them to write the theme tune to their own escape.
Everything in this song is hurtling along at breakneck speed. The guitarwork is just amazing and the drums – for the most part – monotonous, yet frantically intense. It actually sounds as if the guitarist and drummer are racing against each other for dear life. The whole song is just… immense. I think, though this is something I’ve considered for the first time today, that the key to a good rock instrumental is the rhythm section – it must keep the song interesting and steady, not allowing it to stray off into Guitarfetishland or the neighbouring borough of Soundscapesville. And despite the fact that this song is basically saying “look how great I am on guitar”, the galloping drums keep it focused on just being a good fucking tune. There are even bits of this song that sound like East Bay Ray studied it intensely. In fact, it reminds me a lot of his work on Fresh Fruit…, especially Chemical Warfare.
The B Side, Think Of Love, is also pretty damn good. The opening bass riff reminds me of some Nirvana song I can’t think of right now, then it sounds a bit like Honey by Moby – eh, but in a good way – and then it goes slightly mad for the rest of the song. It’s not an instrumental, but it might as well be having only two short verses and no chorus. As with the A Side, its all about frenetic guitarmanship with a great rhythm backing. I might even slightly prefer it to the A Side.
In my esteemed judgement, this is a fabulous 7″.
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* For the first time since that album came out (1997), I actually re-listened to the full version of Love Is The Law. It’s still as appalling to me now as it was then. Despite thinking to this day that the radio edit is a decent britpop tune, I lost interest in The Seahorses almost immediately after hearing the album in full. But curious as I am, I did a quick wiki to see what happened to them. Turns out they split up in 1999 while writing a second album. It was acrimonious, with the former vocalist Chris Helme describing Squire’s work as “muso wanking”. Good man.
Tags: 1960s, 60s, aram khachturian, blues rock, classical covers, dave edmunds, dead kennedys, east bay ray, instrumental, instrumental rock, john peel, john squire, love sculpture, nick lowe, nirvana, rockpile, sabre dance, the just brothers, the seahorses, the shadows, the stone roses, the virtues, wales, welsh music, welsh rockYou can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.