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It was 1996 and a 12 soon to be 13 year old was watching the 'Chart Show' (you know that programme that used to be on ITV and showed videos?). It was watching this I would find my taste in music changed forever.
Apart from the naff comp tapes ('Smash Hits 95') etc I had no real knowledge or interest in music. I didn't really have a favourite band.
That was to change that day as a fantastic group called 'Space' came on singing a song called 'Neighbourhood'. My love for rubbishy 90's chart anthems died out over the years. The downfall started when I received Spaces debut album 'Spiders' for my thirteenth birthday. I was an obsessed fan and would often bore my friends to death talking about them, while all they wanted to talk about was football.
Amongst all the hype the band began growing and becoming more popular. They released their second album 'Tin Planet' which was more of an Indie band fare though it still had that unusual sound that the first release had. I would still say now that Spaces sound is original no one yet has attempted to copy them.
They reached their peak reaching number 2 with 'The Ballad of Tom Jones' a duet with Cerys Matthews (of Catatonia fame).
Unfortunately it wasn't going to last long, by the third album 'Love you more than Football' was due to be released... well it never did.... it got held back... then I sort of got over waiting for new Space goodness and experimented with other bands briefly while at college.
During that time they released Suburban Rock 'N' Roll to no hype at all (doing research for this review is how I just found out about it).
Now forgive the long intro... I was checking out the deals in the tat shop known as Woolworth's about a year ago when I came across a familiar logo. 'Space - Greatest Hits' is what it was simply called. Priced £4.99 and because I only had half the songs on tape I decided to purchased it. The first problem was getting the ridiculously huge 'SALE £4.99' sticker that was on it. Not doing a very successful job of it I eventually could see what the album looked like....
To be honest the album artwork is the most unappealing thing I've ever seen. Obviously this was a bit of a rushed job put together, featuring pictures of all the singles inside. It seemed apparent that this 'Greatest Hits' was just a moneymaker - when you see the artwork of Space albums/singles they where very appealing all being works of art in there own right. This album isn't, it's like a bad Photoshop that someone's put together to have all their favourite Space songs on one CD.
Anyway, you're probably wondering who Space are? No, well I'm telling you anyway.
Tommy Scott - Lead Vocals/Guitar
Jamie Murphy - Vocals/Lead Guitar
Franny Griffiths - Keyboards
Yorkie - Bass (Brought in so Tommy could focus on vocals)
Andy Parle - Drums (1st)
Leon Caffrey - Drums (2nd)
They are a Liverpool band, so some of the songs have a very working class feel to them, their songs had elements of comedy, tragedy, love, romance, and greed; all topped with a cinematic feel.
The album compromises of the following songs -
'Female of the Species' (3.19) arguably Spaces most famous song. This is a song about a woman having a power of a man. Hence why "The female of the species is more deadlier than the male" this track features a tingling keyboard tune that sounds like a xylophone, that I just fell in love with when I first heard that sound.
'Avenging Angels' (2.58) was the first release from Tin Planet and was aimed to make an impact and build up on the momentum Space had made from their first album. Catchy song with the chorus "Calling all avenging angels..."
'Neighbourhood' (3.28) a song about a bizarre neighbourhood. Strangely enough I could imagine there being a place like this in Liverpool. To listen to this song is to sum up what I liked about Space, dark funny lyrics that describe to the listener some of the residents who lived in the neighbourhood.
"In number 18 there lives a big butch queen/ He's bigger than Tyson and he's twice as mean/ In 666 their lives a Mr Miller/ He's a local Vicar and a serial killer". Features great guitar riffs, Spanish trumpets and a great background tune.
'The Ballad of Tom Jones' (with Cerys) (4.10) this track hits you straight from the opening a loud crashing piano opening, this is like the idea 'Fairy Tale of New York' mixed with Tom Jones song names, mixed with pop culture references, add that Space charm and sound and this is the song you get. I always remember this song for the memorable video where Cerys and Tommy where hanging off the edge of a cliff in a car. "Tommy: What did I do wrong?
Cerys: Oh, you nearly drove me cuckoo
Tommy: Am I really all that bad?
Cerys: You're worse than Hannibal Lecter, Charlie Manson and Freddy Krueger"
'Sunny Afternoon' (with Tom Jones) (3.27) - taken from Tom Jones 'Reloaded' album, you know the one he did with all the young stars. Nice little cover good to finally hear it without having to buy the Tom Jones album.
'Money' (4.02) this song sums up a greedy world, as Tommy singings in an eerie raspy voice, "Some folks help the needy, may I just help myself? Fantastic song needs to be heard.
'Begin Again' (3.07) - wow this song is weird, never one I took to much, this song is melodramatic and has singer Tommy Scott singing like it's a Sinatra song. "How can I love again/ now she's gone again/ I'm on that ship again/ called the sinking heart"
'We Gotta Get out of this Place' (3.20) cover of The Animals song, I never actually remember this song, though I heard it was on an advert must have released it sometime as a B-Side.
'Bad Days (Remix)' (3.22) it's a remix but sounds exactly as it does on Tin Planet, all right song, singing about a woman. Love the instrumental in the middle where it's like music from a western though.
'Dark Clouds' (3.48) opens with DJ like scratching, the tune goes a bit Latin, with Spanish sounding trumpets if you listen carefully you can hear that Latin clickerty click sound, with Spanish guitar.
'Me and You Vs the World' (3.36) opens up with a big synth/guitar style intro, it tells the tale of a Bonnie and Clyde style story with a Northern feel to it. The song goes through the story of this couples love, ending with them both dying. "And whether we were in heaven or hell/ I know it's better than separate cells."
'Diary of a Wimp' (2.46) one of the first releases of 'Love you more than football' poor sales meant Gut Records, decided to delay the albums release. This is not a bad song though, it basically a story of a guy who loves a girl, but she doesn't love him and loves someone else.
'Gravity' (4.43) one of the tracks off 'Love you more than football' this song is sang by Jamie who quite often in Space albums had a track or two, with him taking the lead. This song is beautiful, featuring an orchestra background, real different feel to normal Space stuff.
'The Shit you talk is beautiful' (2.19) is something totally different, you got glimpses of Frans stuff on Space albums, usually having an upbeat 'dance' number at the end of 'Tin Planet' and 'Spiders' here they have Tommy's lyrics in. It's an okay song, not the Space I fell in love with though.
'Spiders' (2.50) this track was a live fan favourite, talking about a girl whose scared of a lot of things, but if comes near Tommy "I know she'll cut there balls off"
The albums total time 51 minutes and 22 seconds.
Bit disappointing that there's not much material from the album that never happened, but doing a search for Space brings up three (yes three) greatest hits album with slight differences - one being basically a two disc version of the album I own and the other being called 'Greatest hits and Unheard bits' so great I got the crappist 'Best of Version' bloody Woolworth's.
Also in my opinion three great tracks 'Liddle biddy help from Elvis', '1 O'clock and 'Mr Psycho' where crimes to miss off.
Anyway if you've not heard of Space... well trust me you probably have and just don't realise it, there music has been used in films, adverts, TV series - hopefully the Royalties have kept the band members comfortable.
The greatest thing about Space was there sound, they are unique, it's so easy to call them an Indie band, but then what does that mean anyway? Where else can you get a band that mixes Frank Sinatra style singing, Lyrics like they where summarising a story for a Tarantino movie, maracas and castanets, one of the most underrated guitar players in Jamie Murphy, a keyboard player influenced by the likes of Kraftwreck and a song about Tom Jones stopping a couple from killing each other?
To listen to Space is to release how mediocre a lot of bands that are shoved down are throats today really are.
My only disappointment is this band never got the recognition they deserved before splitting.
Not recommended to purchase
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Female Of The Species
2 Avenging Angels
4 The Ballad Of Tom Jones (feat. Cerys of Catatonia)
5 Sunny Afternoon (feat. Tom Jones)
7 Begin Again
8 We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
9 Bad Days (Remix)
10 Dark Clounds
11 Me & You vs The World
12 Diary Of A Wimp
14 The Shit You Talk Is Beautiful