Orange Juice

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The music of our youth. No other music will ever quite replace it. It’s nothing to do with quality or superiority, it’s the fact such life changing and formative things are happening while these sounds are playing. You can even actively dislike the sound of a certain voice but its sheer ubiquity overcomes your reservations as you associate it with first kisses and first toke and first time getting pissed and all the good things that being young is all about

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Orange Juice were a big deal when I was young. The kind of band the cool kids with floppy hair liked. All fey winsome smiles and jingly-jangly guitars. If I’m honest, at the time I resisted them . They seemed almost deliberately shambolic and just a wee bit smug to ever fully endear themselves to my teenage heart.

In retrospect we do a lot of stupid things as teenagers and perhaps not liking Orange Juice was my most stupid.

The rerelease of their first three albums has me listening to them properly for perhaps the first ever time. And of course I now realize they are very good indeed. Their sound doesn’t just have the more obvious Byrds and Velvets influence but disco and Northern Soul also makes it’s way in their. There’s even a cover of L.O.V.E. by Al Green on ‘You cant hide your love forever’ and unlike their label mates Josef K’s appalling cover of Sly Stone’s Running Away’ it’s actually pretty good.

More sadly when I scan the cover art for their second album ‘Rip it Up and Start again as I’m struck unexpectedly by the brutality of time as I see these beautiful youthful faces staring back at me with not a care in the world. Edwyn Collins, the band’s leader, seems particularly fresh-faced a reality made sadder by the cerebral hemorrhage he suffered in 2005 which left him unable to say anything but 4 things, Yes, No, his wife’s name and the phrase ‘the possibilities are endless’.

He’s now recovered enough to make two fine solo albums ‘Losing Sleep and ‘Understated’ both of which are a tribute to the singular talent of the man who unknowingly soundtracked my youth, even if I was too ungrateful to accept such a rich gift at the time.

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