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Steve Reynolds

BOB always meant a lot to me as a band. I can’t for the life of me remember why I got into em, it was probably from one of my old mates. My first encounter with them goes back to Shrewsbury Fridge in 1989 at the tender age of 21. One hour and a bit later and I was in love with a shiny new band and one I look back upon their back catalogue with a huge amount of fondness. The effortless way they put out great record after great record and equipped with hook after hook never failed to satisfy my needs.

The band were very popular in Europe and in particular, Germany which brings me to the matter in hand. A review of their 1991 gig from the Quarter Latin Club during the Berlin Independence Days.

The opening track ‘Skylark III’ begins with a fanfare of horns from the subsequent PA, a quick hello in German and the band are straight in off the bat. Richard and Simon duet on the chorus and the sense of warmth from the guitar reels you in. In-between that and ‘Tired’ Simon tells the crowd: there’s plenty of room to dance in if you got flu snog someone and give it to them. ‘Tired’ is one of my favourite BOB songs and keeps the tempo up whilst Richard takes up the main mantle on vocals with a soaring guitar solo from Simon to boot. The band take to jamming the latter part of the song but maintain steps away from the noodling phase.

A lot of this set is taken from their album at the time ‘leave the straight life behind’ which made a move away from their earlier work in being less fey and more direct in production and style. This doesn’t detract from the quality of their output but more cements their greatness, personified with the bouncy ’95 Tears’.

My favourite EP was the ‘Stride Up’ one. Everything falls into place perfectly and ‘Flagpole’ is the nearest thing they ever made to indie dance. The Beatles-esque drum rhythms from Dean and the full-frontal guitars intertwine and drop in and out seamlessly before Simon launches into one of his manic solos, it’s followed swiftly by another track off the same ep ‘My blood is drink’ with it’s swirly psychedelic feel and funked up percussion. What was always great about BOB live was that they happily messed around with the original formats that they’d committed to record with elongated slabs of noise, lyrics from other songs and a general approach of naughtiness.

‘Nothing for Something’ still remains my favourite from ‘Leave The Straight Life…’ album. On this live version, Richard is on point with his unique vocal and the subsequent chorus harmonies. Probably the best song on this live record, but then again, I am slightly biased.

‘Take Take Take’ is a faultless live song as well. The rye delivery of the vocals and the quirky off-beat lyrics remain effortlessly catchy.

The band always remained tight live, and this show totally nails it and demonstrates what a well equipped and captivating act they were. Never maligned, never loved enough. It’s still time to fall in love with BOB even if it is your first time.

BOB Independence Days is released on CD and vinyl and can be bought through Optic Nerve Records. It will also be available in selected independent record shops imminently.

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