I didn't get very far with my trawl through the 7" collection: months later and we're still on A. I'd claim pressure of work but those who know me are aware that hard labour is my Kryptonite. But today was a difficult one - I was the external examiner for a PhD dissertation that we gave an M. Phil to - still a huge achievement but not was anyone wanted. Tomorrow is an all-day validation even for an Open University course, so I'm feeling exhausted. What could be more relaxing than delving back into my collection of forgotten and slightly mediocre 90s indie records?
Which is to say…hello Astrid.
I obviously liked them because I ordered their records in advance, from the earliest quite cheap productions, to the snazzy ones with free stuff on coloured vinyl when their label thought they were going somewhere, and back again. Could I hum one before playing them? No.
Predictably (if you've been following this series) they're Scottish. All guitar-pop bands from the 1990s are. It's like Teenage Fanclub or Orange Juice had a breeding programme, and indeed Edwin Collins produced their first album and members have been in Texas and Idlewild. There must be something in the shortbread…or the legacy of all those US airbases with their radio stations (also the reason why Country'n'Irish is big in the border counties of Ireland.
You can probably guess what Astrid sound like. Jangly close-harmony guitar pop! And very pleasant it is too. Without meaning any disrespect to the band, their cover of Sleigh Ride is the pick of the lot - perky, cheerful and committed. I just love Scottish bands doing unexpected covers: the Delgados' Peel Sessions version of 'Mr Blue Sky' is far superior to the original, and Spare Snare's cover of 'Say My Name' is, well, it just is.