From 1975 -1979, things were going well for James A. Smith, musically speaking. He was writing prolifically, getting encouragement from his contemporaries -- namely, his friend Robyn Hitchcock of The Soft Boys -- and his band, The Containers, had recorded some promising demos and were playing regular live gigs. But, by January of 1980, The Containers disbanded suddenly, and James was on his own. "Sod it!" he thought, and, rather than waste time lamenting the situation, he plotted a new course as a solo artist. Armed only with his guitar, a drum machine and his flatmate's girlfriend, Jill Fricker, to sing backup vocals, James forged ahead with his new project: The Beach Bullies.
The Beach Bullies somehow manage to sound simultaneously classic and exceptionally ahead of their time. Fans of kindred spirits from the same era, such as The Television Personalities, Young Marble Giants, and yes, The Soft Boys, will find much to admire in The Beach Bullies. On the other hand, their alternating vocals, stripped-down aesthetic and minimal arrangements will also appeal to fans of artists who would emerge much later, such as The Vaselines, The Pastels, Shop Assistants and Small Factory.
In their brief time together, The Beach Bullies recorded one full-length LP, We Rule The Universe, on Musclebound Records in 1980, along with a series of demos, and some rough mixes intended for a follow-up release that never came to fruition. These comprehensive additional recordings are all available as digital downloads with purchase of this LP. Original copies of the LP sell for more than $40 on the second-hand market, and the bonus tracks have never been released previously. The LP insert also includes previously unreleased photos of James and Jill from the time of the recordings, along with witty liner notes from James himself, giving the full scoop on how this unique record came to be in the first place.
released September 25, 2015
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