Named after the economic monolith depicted in cult sci-fi film Blade Runner, this Redcar, England-based pop house duo’s North East Of Eden set was one of the genre’s most striking pieces in 1992. Joe Watson’s smooth tones helped create a unique hybrid of house and Philly soul, with accessible lyrics tackling the personal and the political (as in ‘Ballad Of British Justice’). The other principal of the band is lyricist and synthesizer player Tony Barry (though Watson also provides keyboard expertise). He had left Redcar for London in 1984, ending up as a pub manager. Watson, after working as a bingo caller, followed him down from the North East six years later, and stayed on his couch. They embarked on their musical adventures, with various day jobs enlisted to fund night recordings. Tyrrel Corporation made their debut in 1990 with the release of ‘6 O’Clock’ on tiny independent About Time Two Records. Straightaway it showcased their strengths. While the song was undoubtedly in tune with the modern house sound, they imposed their songwriting skills rather than simply working a groove. ‘A lot of the stuff around at the moment, you could never sit down and play it in a bar, but everything we do is a song and can be played that way’ attested Watson. Signing to Cooltempo (originally through Charlie Chester’s Volante subsidiary) follow-up singles ‘The Bottle’ and ‘Going Home’ were equally effective, with critics drooling at what one described as the lyricism of the Smiths combined with the funk of Mr. Fingers. While ‘6 O’Clock’ took British licensing laws to task, the time in question being the legal opening hour, ‘The Bottle’ continued their drink associations with the mighty hookline ‘the bottle is mightier than the pen’. The subject matter of ‘Going Home’ was much more downbeat, reflecting the sharp decline of the industrial North East and the death of its culture. This was a theme more fully explored in their debut album.
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