Bristol Archive Records Blog

Europeans – Album Review

Bristol Archive Records


A boring cover, yes, but a band formed in 1977 who recorded this through 1978 and 1979. Vocalist Jonathan Cole also handled some guitar and synth, Steve Street played bass, James Cole was on drums and wait a minute, who’s that on main guitar? Why none other than Jon Klein who went on to Specimen, The Banshees et al. A real archive find, is what, and proof positive that labels like this who try to chronicle their own area and its history do a remarkably fine job. Please note this is not The Europeans who appeared on A&M and dressed like gymnasts because they thought that looked cool. They were total wank. This Europeans are only partly wank.‘Time’ finds vocals stretched out over leisurely bass and buzzy synth, which flutters throughout as the guitar lays low, neatly razored, all of it an interesting post-punk hotch-potch. ‘Europeans’ flickers brightly over some polite Pistolian guitar and flops happily about as a catchy New Wave item, and it was their best known moment as a single and they remind of The Original Mirrors – remember the classic ‘Dancing With The Rebels’? After this things tend to go wrong.



‘Take Me To The Continent’ is a scrawny, soppy pop song, with some pretty horrible guitar! ‘Shadows’ is too damn coy for its own good but it’s a smart bit of melodic trivia.
‘Technology’ struggles hard to pretend it’s not replicating The Who than staggers about weirdly, nicely sloppy guitar trailing behind rubbish lyrics (‘you can build a house, you can build a tree, that’s the wonder of technology’!) which is truly irritating. ‘Voices’ stomps and chomps, although they do it in a lightweight fashion, and the vocals are simply trying too hard. Weirder keyboards sounds percolate through the soft, bouncy ‘Operator’ which stops it being an ultra-suburban Cockney Rebel. ‘Russian Roulette’ is a daft but snappy item, which seemed to exist mainly because he’d come up with a clever lyrical joke, with ‘Victims’ a pale and dopey version of Foxx-era Ultravox.‘Two Lovers’ is quite odd, airy in a lush Bowie way, but snipped off short, ‘The Only One’ is a bit like The Only Ones covering ‘Rebel Rebel’, then ‘Buildings’ trumps all the other terrible lyrics, revealing ‘we live in buildings, because buildings surround us’! A lyrical visionary, clearly, and how band never died of shame onstage when doing that one we will never know.

It’s rubbish, obviously, but it’s engaging rubbish, a weird timeshift back to a time where bands were discarding the energy of Punk and honing their melodic skills, wherein all manner of influences collide, some going the winsome route as in this case, other going for the jagged post-punk rollercoaster. I know which I prefer, and it isn’t this one, but it still makes for an interesting experience. For anyone who saw them when they were stalwarts of the local scene I’m sure it’s a treasure trove of memories, and thanks to Mike Darby I have other albums on this label by Essential Bop, Electric Guitars, Andy Fairley and Head coming up.






Review from  May 2009

Leave a Reply