If you were a music fan in the early 90’s with your finger on the pulse of all things Britpop you would no doubt have seen the steady trickle of bands coming through that almost seemed to be formed over night to cause abit of controversy, make a fast quid or 2 or just to see their face appear on one of the hallowed weekly music papers of the time. These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H might fall into this category, another band that may or may not have had this label thrown at them are Menswear. The 5 piece I seem to remember first came to light in a Mod centre piece article in Melody Maker. The big picture of the band almost depicted the band in a Madness One Step Beyond stance, all lined up behind each other in a dance pose similar to Suggs, Chas Smash and the rest of the nutty boys.
The band were being tipped as the next Blur, this found the band up on the big festival stages including Glastonbury plus Top Of The Pops slots, as singer Johnny Dean cast model like poses all over the weekly and monthly publications. With the bands seemingly sharp rise to fame the steep curve of them disappearing was equally as quick. However with the help of Demon Music Group the bands entire material including a log lost album as well as live material has been rescued, spectacularly repackaged and let loose again on an unwitting general public.
The box set comes as sharp and clean as one of Johnny’s pair of Ben Sherman shirts, a signed picture, booklet with a foreword by the master of Britpop Steve Lamacq with a splattering of memorbilia, a pin badge set and memories from the band, the material contained within stands up reasonably well considering every man and his dog was out to slate the band back in the day. The singles I’ll Manage Somehow, Sleeping In, Stardust, Being Brave and the Britpop teenage Daydreamer.
There’s a bunch of live tracks, again the band seemingly pulling the rabbit out of the hat sounding like a decent band, plus with the mix of b sides, their 1995 debut album Nuisance that peaked at number 11 in the album charts plus an elusive Japan only released album Hay Tiempo!. Sounding more aggressive than their innocent Britpop sound the highlights include Waiting For The Sun which brings back some of the enthusiasm of the debut album, the orchestra lead opener Ever Sounds a Melody and the actually quite good Coming Home which might actually be the ban trying to rewrite Being Brave. All in all the collection breaths life back into a band that many thought they’d seen the back of. Time for Action?
The Menswear Collection can be purchased via the following link