Ask any indie fan what the best record to come out in 1986 and the vast majority will point you in the direction of the Smiths' 'The Queen Is Dead'. Whilst I, too, am a fan of the Smiths, it is another record from 1986 that spawned my favourite track for the last 20 years - 'Meet Me On Tuesdays' by the Brilliant Corners, the lead track on their excellent 'Fruit Machine' mini-album.

The Brilliant Corners were formed in 1982 by singer/songwriter Davey Woodward from the ashes of The Hybrids and over the next three years they gradually honed their sound from the rockabilly of early singles 'She’s Got Fever' and 'Big Hip' to the Josef K/Velvet Underground influenced mini LP 'Growing Up Absurd'.

'The Fruit Machine' showed further progression still with the addition of a trumpeter, Dan Pancini, to give their sound a more pop orientation, that became the staple of so many ‘C86’ bands.

The music press at the time labelled the ‘ Corners as “Arguably the most brilliant band Bristol has ever created” and described 'The Fruit Machine'as “A disc to treasure, put under your pillow at night and eat strawberries and cream off by day” and “A nail-bitingly fresh guitar sound with some of the wittiest songs about everyday life – and things – it will ever be your privilege to hear”. Such words of wisdom I cannot disagree with.

'The Fruit Machine' was recorded in January 1986 at SAM studios in Bristol and legend has it that the band sold all but one of their amps to stump up the brass to pay for the recording. Now I’m sure that wasn’t the case with the recording of 'The Queen Is Dead'!

Five tracks in all were recorded during that session, but only four made it onto the final perfect 12” of vinyl. The fifth, 'Trudy Is A Squeal', had been ear-marked (and rightly so) for a future single release in it’s own right, but would eventually only come out on the B-side of the catchy as hell 'Brian Rix' 7” the following year. The other three tracks that accompanied the aforementioned 'Meet Me On Tuesdays' were very nearly as strong. There is a certain sadness that seeps through all four tracks and surfaces most on 'Jim’s Room', a homage to a lost friend and indeed when writing in 1988, Davey Woodward admitted that it was “a very melancholic time” when the EP was recorded. 'Everything I Ever Wanted' and 'The Funniest Thing' also bare testament to this and are far from fillers.

Sadly 'The Fruit Machine' has long since been deleted, but copies do crop up on e-bay from time to time and I even managed to pick up an absolute mint copy (for when my original wears out, which it will) for £2 a couple of years back at my local second-hand record shop. The Brilliant Corners only live on in people’s hearts these days, but Davey Woodward has fronted the truly superb the Experimental Pop Band for the last 10 years and as luck would have it they are playing a rare UK gig in May – details elsewhere on this web-site!

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