Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Creation Records - The First Five Singles 1983-1984

The US Première of “Upside Down – The Creation Records Story” next week at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, provides excuse enough, if excuse is needed, to re-run an article that appeared in the second issue of the fanzine.

Long before it became the all-conquering behemoth of a label whence came the monster that was Oasis, Creation Records was a fanzine editor's dream. Alan McGee's background in that field, with his own fanzine Communication Blur, had lead to the establishment of connections with a whole bevy of similar minded souls, not least with What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen.

Communication Blur #2, Creation Artifact Call Out and Letter from Mr McGee

By Spring of 1984, the label was five releases strong, we'd been sent a copy of each, and the time was right for a feature in issue 2 of WANWTTS. I don't think I was alone in thinking that Creation was a natural successor to Postcard though I make the equally obvious comparison to Factory in the article itself.

We'd featured a pre-Creation Pastels in issue 1 and the Creation connection extended with the inclusion of “Think” by the Jasmine Minks on the LP that accompanied issue 3 of the magazine.

Here, then, is the article, as it appeared in 1984:

“No praise is high enough for Creation. What we are doing is wonderful....” - Alan McGee 1984

The kind of arrogance that's sure to set the fur flying in many quarters; such words often being famous and final, quoth the level-headed voice of reason. Such self-confidence is not totally misplaced, however: there's evidence aplenty of an enthusiasm, of an optimism, that evolved in the swinging sixties, withered in the stagnant seventies and is now rejuvenated in the expectant eighties. Okay, so it's easy to reek self-assured confidence when you're closely and passionately involved in something, as easy as it is to shoot down in flames such heartfelt beliefs. So I won't.

Like the optimism, the music too is strongly bonded to the sixties; bonded to, influenced by, but by no means copied from. There's the raw rough'n'ready pop of the Jasmine Minks jangle. For them it's all a question of attitude – theirs is right and the rest should change; more arrogance of the type that's served the Smiths so well. But will it rub for the Minks? Alan McGee, one of the cats at Creation has this to say of them; “Probably our first band to make the real charts....I/we have great personal faith in them.” Their first single, “Think” should be the start of more widespread acceptance of the label, if not actually its first “real” chart success.

Biff Bang Pow! Adopted their name from a song by Creation, the band. They possess, in Alan's opinion, “direct optimism and a will to ask why”, and their first single, “Fifty Years Of Fun”, dominated by a persistent whining guitar, and “plagued”, it must be said, by poor drumming, questions loyalty and the work ethic.

 Revolving Paint Dream are responsible for the label's most successful release to date, namely their first single “Flowers In The Sky” which reproduces that currently most successful of guitar sounds, that of the Byrds, and reproduces it to hypnotic effect. “Andrew is our mystery man; I met him once”.

The Pastels are no newcomers to my ears at least, as their contribution to the record collections of the world (mine included) has already amounted to two (one on Whaam! And one on Rough Trade). A case of imperfection guaranteed, quiet pop with a diamond heart. “So fragile but so hard” as Alan puts it. “Is Stephen gay?”.

Primal Scream I don't know, but I'm advised by my man on the scan, that they've been rehearsing in a garage in Glasgow for four months and that they're lead by a “transvestite called Beattie” - purveyors of clean scrub- faced pop they obviously are not, and more power to them.

The only release that's not been well received at Seventeen HQ is the very first – hardly the promise of greater things to come, merely that things had to improve. Harsh words perhaps from one in no position to judge, and I got the single for free, but The Legend's “73 in 83” struck no chords in my heart.

But we're not about to end on a sour note.

“Creation is more than a record label....clubs, fanzines, clothes, shops, rehearsal studios, photographic studios...it will all come to those who wish/desire it.”

Ambitious aims, close, I would guess, to those of set ups such as Factory, but free of the elitist aura, and with smiles on their faces. One day I may love it, but for now it's enough that I admire it.

All bands and the label itself may be contacted c/o Rough Trade Records, 137 Blenheim Crescent, London W11 2EQ.

Chris Seventeen


  1. The only one of the first five I never kept......

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