Bristol Archive Records Blog

Fried Egg by Mick Mercer

THE BEST OF FRIED EGG RECORDS (Bristol 1979 – 1980)

 Bristol Archive Records

I think I may well have to interview Mike Darby about this ceaseless flotilla of Bristol memories his label are releasing because I am not aware of any other town-label existing in the UK (Hyped2death in the States do better than labels here), which is doing what they have. There are towns which merit such attention but I don’t think anyone has got round to it. This time they’ve re-released an old compilation, and added extra tracks. I recall this vaguely from first time around, as I do ‘Avon Calling’, although I recall thinking at the time they weren’t a patch on Brighton’s ‘Vaultage’ series, so let’s see if I was a callow youth and hideously wrong. 

Shoes For Industry’s ‘Jerusalem’ is some spry art-funk with magnificent bass, Pete Brandt’s Method do slinkier funakteering with ‘Positive Thinking’ which is easy to tune out rather than drown in. Art Objects do some jaunty indie with a sprig of hi-life in its had. That’s ‘Hard Objects’, then Exploding Seagulls scamper around singing the idiotic, twanging ‘Johnny Runs For Paregoric’ and you want to slap them. Wild Beasts offer fine punky pop in ‘Minimum Maximum’, Shoes For Industry’s (presumably) ironically xenophobic ‘Invasion Of The French Boyfriends’ is momentarily interesting in a surreal Pennies From Heaven style, then it dribbles along endlessly. Yawn. The Various Artists’ ‘Original Mixed Up Kid’ is like a soppy version of The Jam. The Stingrays liven things up with some light-hearted garagey pop in ‘Exceptions’, which the artwork has in the wrong order, The Fans fidget and ooze beneath the ska-reggae clouds of ‘Following You’, then The Various Artists lilt airily through the reggae infused froth of ‘Unofficial Secrets.’ The Untouchables sound just like schoolkids playing r’n’b should in ‘Keep on Walking’, which is fun, and Electric Guitars unravel lustily though the sharp-edged indie jangling of ‘Continental Shelf.’ So not a fabulous collection, although doubtless a decent appraisal of what was happening and available for a compilation at the time. (In other words, I was right.)Naturally the CD and digital version comes stuffed full of extras. Such as these.

The Fans come over all unnecessarily chirpy in the pouting posturing ‘Giving Me That Look in Your Eye’, The Stingrays sound bizarrely puny for such a good band in ‘Countdown’, like a welterweight Carpettes, but Art Objects are pulsating neatly in ‘Fit of Pique’ until the comic timing of the vocals turns out to be awful and drags it down. Electric Guitars splash about fruitily for ‘Health’, with the Viceroys demo for ‘Angels In The Rain’ coming on like a West Country Springsteen, and actually it isn’t bad. The Various Artists create something special and enigmatic in the doomed romance of ‘Stephens Body’, and the quality is sustained by a terse and demented demo for Electric Guitars’ ‘Work’ before Shoes For Industry redeem themselves with the strangely successful dithering of ‘Sheepdog Trial Inna Babylon.’

Taken from


Leave a Reply