“Spitti wha?”

Image of Green from Scriiti Politti… was the response I got back in 1999 from the young south Dublin man behind the till in Golden Discs, Liffey Valley Centre when I excitedly asked for the new album from Scritti Politti.

He was almost as excited as I was, and then he asked his colleagues, a young lady, I believe, for her assessment of the situation. “Never heard of ’em”, she responded, reasonably. A third colleague, slightly older, said, accurately, that the band were “from the 80s”.

Image of Scritti's A&BIn the heel of the hunt, Golden Discs did not stock Anomie & Bonhomie. Nor did the nearby Virgin Mega(pah!)store. So, I had to wait even longer for another bus into the city centre and finally tracked down an overpriced copy in HMV. It was, after all, the first album from Paul ‘Green’ Strohmeyer Gartside and assembled sonicmeisters since 1988’s kinda dissapointing Provision.

A&B left me with a ‘WTF’ feeling on the first listens. Rappers all over the shop, rawk guitars and general chaos. Of course it emerged as Scritti’s best work, eclipsing Cupid & Psyche ’85 by miles.

Unfortunately, nobody bought it. I bought two copies: CD and the HOT new format that almost changed the world: MINIDISC!

Image of Scritti's White Bread Black Beer albumRoll on 2006, and Green emerges once again with a new album, White Bread Black Beer. My eyebrow raises, but I’m in no great rush to buy it the very moment it hits the shops. Not much leakage on the net either. I hear the first few minutes of potential single The Boom Boom Bap and shrug my shoulders. “Whatever…” and I order it from CDWow. I’m in no rush.

7-10 days later, CD arrives. I hate the cover. Album not immediately popped into iTunes for ripping. Instead I go out and go dancing. It can wait.

And then I eventually listen to it. It’s a bit.. well.. boring. And where is all of the expensive production? And the convoluted lyrics? Is this going to be like Pet Shop Boys circa Release?

White Bread Black Beer storms into the UK Top 75 album chart at number… oops. The single manages to get to number 10 on the, ahem, indie charts. It’s official, nobody cares any more. Not even me.

Adios Scritti, ’twas fun.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Why can’t I learn from past experience? I didn’t like any of Green’s stuff on first listen (except Wood Beez, when I was 11) and then it just gets into your head and bones and … goddamit! You look at it again and it says, “What? I was intelligent, sophisticated and extraordinary from the start. You just took your bloody time to realise it.”

That’s the thing with Scritti Politti. They make you wait for years for a new album and then when you get it, they make you wait even longer before you realise that it’s the most coherent and effortless album you’ve heard all year.
Nobody likes a smarty pants, Green. Except me. Roll on 2011.

Congratulations on your nomination for the Mercury Music Prize. Let’s hope you kick Arctic Monkey ass.

Download Snow In Sun by Scritti Politti (5.7MB)
Like this? Of course you do. Buy White Bread Black Beer by Scritti here.

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9 comments

  1. Minge

    It’s such a shame when something fabulous from the past rears its head in the present, only to find it’s not what it was.

    And don’t get me started on mini-disc! Gggrrr!

  2. Pingback: Daddy or Chips? » Oooh! I’m in the charts!
  3. swims

    Haven’t listened to the new album much yet, but I loved Anomie and Bonhomie, despite the rappers πŸ™‚

    You have a nice writing style by the way.

  4. Enda

    Thanks for that swims.

    WBBB definately rewards repeat listens.I was sooo indifferent at first and now I love it. The lyrics are less oblique and, gasp, romantic. Maybe we’re all just getting older….?

  5. no milk

    i loved scritti politti and i had both cupid and psyche and provision on LPs. i even had a little dance move that i did to wood beez. god bless green gartside!

  6. Pingback: Sometimes it’s good to meet your heroes… « Daddy or Chips?

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