Senseless Things charity tribute album released
available now from https://www.senselessthingstribute.co.uk/
Senseless Things fans across the world have teamed together to create a tribute album in honour of the band, whilst raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity.
Inspired by the band’s recent reunion gigs in Hull and London, dedicated fans on Senseless Things’ Facebook fan page rallied together to keep up the enthusiasm of the group, recording their favourite songs for a new album, which is out on Monday 26 June.
From punk to blues, ukuleles, and banjoes, Punk not Fraggle features 15 tracks from acts from Beach Slang to fans’ bands and brand new bands put together especially for the album.
Album artwork by Richard Hall
The mastermind behind Punk, not Fraggle, Clair Coult, explained: “When the 90’s punk/indie (but definitely not Fraggle) band Senseless Things announced they were reforming to do two gigs in March 2017 it made a lot of old Pop Kids very happy. Very, very happy. We were so happy we forgot that we weren’t 18 anymore. Then we had an idea.
“Many fans on the Senseless Things Facebook community were also in bands or played music for fun. So we thought, what if everyone covered their favourite Senseless Things track? What if we made an album and gave all the proceeds to charity? I really wanted to give something back to the band to say thank you.”
Clair reached out to Senseless Things to invite them to choose the charity that would be supported by the tribute album and they selected Teenage Cancer Trust. A hoard of fans then got in touch wanting to support the charity and record their favourite songs.
The name, Punk Not Fraggle, was taken from a t-shirt slogan worn by guitarist Ben Harding at the band’s Shepherd’s Bush reunion gig on Saturday 25 March. It referred to a style of UK pop punk popular in the late 80s and early 90s, tagged by Steve Lamacq as Fraggle Rock: a label that Senseless Things were keen to shake off.
Ben explained: “Punk, Not Fraggle – that’s what my t-shirt said. This had come from a conversation with some close mates on Facebook, in which it was strongly argued that the Things were exactly that. Punk, not Fraggle. That somehow we didn’t deserve to be lumped in with a random collection of other Herberts whom we happened to resemble.”
Contributing their cover of Too Much Kissing to Punk Not Fraggle are Philadelphia punks Beach Slang, who were joined on-stage by Senseless Things’ singer Mark Keds, Ben Harding, and drummer Cass Browne in Camden in June 2016 to perform the classic song from the 1989 album, Postcard CV.
Kingston punk rockers, Down Love, whose debut album Trust was released earlier this year on Boss Tuneage, have recorded I’m on Black and White, a lesser-known b-side from the Everybody’s Gone single; while Green Vinyl, made up of Australian band Black Vinyl’s drummer Phil Cullen and bassist Paul Green, with Paul’s children Miles (16) on guitar and Izzi (13) on vocals, take on a beautiful acoustic version of Best Friend from the album The First of Too Many.
Bringing some unexpected turns into the mix are The Legendary snakeSNAKEsnake, giving Fishing at Tescos a country makeover with banjo, melodica and cello; and the Three Amigos, taking on Someone in You with their duelling ukuleles.
Punk Not Fraggle’s creator, Clair, has teamed up with husband Trevor and son Joshua as Pop Kids on their version of Drunk and Soppy. Clair and Trevor have previously recorded songs for Feeder tribute albums, A Place Inside Our Minds II and III.
Ben said: “I always thought that I was the kind of musician who would only ever contribute to tribute albums. Done it twice – once for the NME’s 50 years of the charts one, recorded on the infamous Blur tour of the USA in 1992 (which is another story), and once for a Beatles tribute album, when Senseless Things recorded a Rutles song instead because, well, they were better than the Beatles.
“Honestly, I never thought that I’d end up being the subject of one (well, partly)… You could say that Beach Slang’s cover of Too Much Kissing was where it all started. There and the Senseless Things Facebook group, where we’d been nagged endlessly – for years – to play together again. And – for years – I and the others had firmly managed expectations (said ‘Never’. ‘No way’. ‘Ain’t gonna happen’). So, back in 2015, I heard that Beach Slang cover, then the first EP and album and fell head-over-heels. And it turned out they were playing in Camden a few weeks later. So I was there, with gifts of old t-shirts and spare copies of 7-inches; and James Alex invited me up to play TMK with them. What a blast. I’d missed playing it, that song. Fast forward a few months, and the Slang were back in town. This time, Deadcuts (Mark Keds and Cass Browne’s current band) had manoeuvred themselves onto the bill, so we did it again – me, Cass and Mark, alongside James and Ed from Beach Slang.
“Yeah, it was a bit slow. But it was intense. It was also a seed – maybe the final blow to any resistance to the idea that we should do another show. I’d been convinced in all the years preceding that it’d never happen. Now we know different. And if playing TMK with the Slang had been a blast, all four of us back together, playing it to our fans, was something else entirely. It felt like the distillation of everything we’d ever been before – energy pent up for decades, and an outpouring of love from the crowd the like of which I’ve rarely – if ever – felt from an audience before. Best gigs of my whole career.
“And from this in turn came the inspired idea by Clair to put together a tribute album – possibly a way to try to extend that delicious moment when we were all together, there at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire or the Adelphi in Hull. Whatever the inspiration, I’m loving it. At the time of writing, I haven’t heard the full versions of the tracks, but what I have heard is wonderful. Quirky, heavy, tender… and inspired by the work we put in all those years ago. From musicians across the world. It’s pretty damn moving, I can tell you that much, and I’m humbled by it. I’m really looking forward to this – I’m waiting for the release like the rest of you. I’m going to pay for my copy too.”
The full list of bands featured is: Johnny Automatic, Green Vinyl, Secret Lies, Indie Generation, The Legendary SnakeSNAKESnake, Raining Planets, the Three Amigos, Philtrum, the Pop Kids, Down Love, Ricky Boom-Boom, Nat the Hammer, Fortress of Forever, the Jerks, and Beach Slang.
Clair added: “I’ve been a massive Senseless Things fan since 1990 when, at the tender age of 15, a friend played me their first album, Postcard CV. It was love at first listen! Senseless Things quickly became my favourite band and their songs became the soundtrack to my youth. I went to see the band at every opportunity and I even made a ‘Simon’ doll (the pink creature drawn by Jamie Hewlett that featured in the artwork of The First of Too Many).
“Punk Not Fraggle has been a tremendous collaborative effort. Special thanks go to Richard Hall for designing the album artwork, Amy Fay, Pete Cole, Carrie Beth, Trevor Coult, Nick Sayers, all of the bands and artists who have participated in the project and of course Mark Keds, Ben Harding, Morgan Nicholls and Cass Browne – without whom none of this would have been possible.”
Senseless Things originally formed in 1986 and released four albums, Postcard CV, The First of Too Many, Empire of the Senseless, and Taking Care of Business, before splitting up in 1995. Their single Lost Honey, released in March 2017 on Speedowax Records, was their first new material in 22 years.
Punk, not Fraggle is available as a digital download exclusively at https://www.senselessthingstribute.co.uk/ from Monday 26 June. The album costs £5 with all proceeds going to Teenage Cancer Trust. For more info, follow Punk Not Fraggle on Twitter at @punknotfraggle
The full track listing of the album is:
1) Is It Too Late – Johnny Automatic
2) Best Friend – Green Vinyl
3) Tangled lines – Secret Lies
4) Everybody’s Gone – Indie Generation
5) Fishing at Tescos – The Legendary SnakeSNAKESnake
6) Andi in a Karmann – Raining Planets
7) Someone in You – The Three Amigos
8) Girlfriend – Philtrum
9) Drunk and Soppy – The Pop Kids
10) I’m on Black and White – Down Love
11) Something to Miss – Ricky Boom-Boom
12) Primary Instinct – Nat the Hammer
13) Too Much Like I Know You – Fortress of Forever
14) Touch Me on the Heath – The Jerks
15) Too Much Kissing – Beach Slang