Yummy Fur

Piggy Wings

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

At a time when the mainstream of Scottish indie pop was tilted towards bands like Teenage Fanclub and Belle & Sebastian, who dealt in sweet melodies and gentle harmonies, there were a few bands bubbling under who were altogether scrappier, noisier, and weirder. The Yummy Fur were the best of the lot, and their output of singles, EPs, and albums released between 1995 and 1998 is a treasure trove of bandleader John McKeown's off-kilter lyrics and yelping vocals, cranked-up guitars, and merrily thumping rhythms. Piggy Wings collects a small batch of their best songs, and after one spin the listener is either transported back in time to a dingy Scottish club or, if they are hearing the band for the first time, wondering where Yummy Fur have been all their life. The collection grabs songs from all stages of the band's career: the beginning, when they were bashing out short, squirmy songs that packed a lot of hooks and snark into under two minutes; the middle period, when they started to stretch a little and add some strutting snap to the bass and drums; and the end, when they began to introduce some electronics into their sound. It's a short, breathless dash through a similarly situated career, and every song here sounds like it could be extracted and released as a single. "The Department" is a great showcase for McKeown's bitingly hilarious lyrics and Mark E. Smith-esque vocals, "Roxy Girls" is an instantly unforgettable tune with a glam rock chassis and some amazingly raw guitar lines, "Career Saver" is a rollicking post-punk jammer that sounds like Elastica played through a keyhole, and "Night Club" careens like the pulsing, insistent surge of a packed dancefloor. This is bruising, invigorating music that picks the listener up by the lapels, gives them a good shake, and never lets go. There are shards of the Fall in their perspective, bits of Pavement in their sideways approach to a melody, loads of Fire Engines in their serrated edges, and plenty of oddball charm brought by McKeown and his large cast of revolving bandmates. Yes, two of them (drummer Paul Thomson and bassist Alex Kapranos) went on to be in Franz Ferdinand, and yes, they made off with a large chunk of the Yummy Fur sound when they left. That is peripheral to the Yummy Fur story, though; what's really important is that the band made some of the most exciting music of the '90s and this is the first time it's been collected and widely disseminated since then. Piggy Wings is a vital collection that serves as a reminder to those who were there at the time and an introduction to those unfortunate to have missed out the first time around.

blue highlight denotes track pick