Andy Blade

Treasure Here

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In the first wave of U.K. punk outfits, Eater were third-string at best, notable at the time mostly because they were so young -- drummer Dee Generate was said to be only 13 -- but they were at least as good as, say, Slaughter & the Dogs or the Outcasts. With the exception of one obscure single, "Lyin' Again," recorded with Brian James (the Damned, Chelsea, Lords of the New Church) in 1985, Andy Blade retired from the public eye until 2005, when his funny, perceptive memoir The Secret Life of a Teenage Punk Rocker was published. Released in conjunction with his book, Blade's first solo album, Treasure Here, is a pleasant surprise. Not at all punk, Treasure Here strongly recalls the veddy British D.I.Y. pop of the Television Personalities (and related offshoots like the Times and Ed Ball's solo projects), the Cleaners from Venus (Blade bears more than a little vocal resemblance to head Cleaner Martin Newell) and the Chrysanthemums. Bracketed by the brief two-part title track, the meat of Treasure Here is a solid collection of ten melodic, lyrically wry and mature pop songs such as the Robyn Hitchcock-meets-Blur "Statue of People Disease," and the ultra-tuneful Brit-pop of "Filling in Gaps." Naturally, waiting 20 years between releases does tend to result in quite the accumulated backlog of songs, but the most pleasant surprise of Treasure Here is how fresh it feels even despite the overall sense of it being something of a throwback to the U.K. post-punk and indie scene. As a bonus, the album ends with an eight-minute excerpt from Blade's book concerning a failed business liaison with legendary producer Mickie Most.

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