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HomeMusicThe Loft: Riley & Coe Session 09.10.23 Precious Recordings

The Loft: Riley & Coe Session 09.10.23 Precious Recordings

EP review

The Loft

Riley & Coe session 09.10.23

Precious Recordings of London

Limited 10 inch vinyl (500) / DL

Pre-order from 7 June, released 5 July 2024

When Indie meant genuinely independent, ‘jangly guitars’ and heroic outsiderdom the bands which get namechecked as being the originals and the archetype tend to be the TV Personalities, The June Brides and the Wedding Present. In fact, in retrospect, says Ged Babey (a goth at the time), one of the best, were The Loft.  A band who brought a CBGB’s influence to Creation and who still sound magnificent all these years later. 

Precious Recordings of London really is a label that lives up to its name and does what it says on the tin.

And this, in my opinion, is one of the most precious they have released.

Normally archive recordings from way way back in the 80’s, this is probably their most ‘recently recorded’ release – the reformed, original line-up of The Loft from less than a year ago playing on Mark and Gideon’s show for BBC 6-Music.

Featuring four classic Loft tracks and played by the original members – Pete Astor, Dave Morgan, Bill Prince and Andy Strickland – the session confirmed the band’s standing as pioneering indie originals.

The Loft notched up an impressive list of firsts for Creation Records artists back in the mid-1980s. First Creation band on TV, first to hit the top of the indie chart, first to be invited on to a major UK tour and, not least, first Creation band to record a coveted BBC radio session – for Janice Long’s Radio One show in 1984. Then they split up.

Four songs: including this, probably the best cover version you’ll hear of a Richard Hell song, Time.  The video below includes Pete Astors giving the full story about the background, which isn’t of course on the PRoL release.

Practically the perfect song, beautifully rendered, sonically exquisite and ironically timeless with its existential poetics.

The other three songs of course can’t quite match up to that – but do make pretty good attempts:

‘Beware’  is kind of (Tom Verlaines) Television anglicized and a sister-song to ‘I Almost Prayed’.

‘Worm In My Brain’  is a bit of a Syd Barrettesque lyric and just a beautiful psych-country  number of the kind Robyn Hitchcock is famed for.  And ‘Ride’ seems to be a nod to The Byrds via CBGB’s.

The wonderful thing about this EP of songs recorded in 2023, written in the early 1980’s, is that despite the 40-year time-gap, is that they sound quite possibly better now than they did then. They really are ‘timeless’, fabulous pop music for connoisseurs… songs written by wise, young men that suit the sagely veterans now playing them.

The Creation story and mythology is well known and The Loft arguably as important to it as The Jesus & Mary Chain. The later popularity of bands like Teenage Fanclub, REM and even The Strokes… are all weird strokes of luck and successful ‘promotion’ when The Loft did it all first, and far better, years, or decades before, without reaping the commercial rewards.

The press release concludes with… (Ignoring the two compilations of sessions, demos and live material) – Having released just one single and an EP in the past, The Loft have now decided it is time to record their first album. They go into the studio this summer with the release planned for the new year.

If if it as magnificent as this session, it’s gonna be an absolute winner.

Buy/Pre-order on Bandcamp

Forthcoming from Precious – 14 ICED BEARS (mid-June 2x Peel) and JESSE GARON & THE DESPERADOES (July) SALOON and SHRAG (Autumn).

All words Ged Babey

Post Script

‘The symbiotic relationship between artist and journalist’ as evidenced here.

The Loft: Riley & Coe Session 09.10.23 Precious Recordings
the Rev Pete Astor singing ‘Jesus Christ is getting drunk again’ in St Denys Church

The lavish praise heaped upon the artists in this review is in no way affected by the fact that on Saturday (1 June 2024) two of the Loft, Andy and Pete, played my hometown, at my invitation, filling in for the unwell Johny Brown.

The acoustics of St Denys Church made Astors vocal soar and Stricklands guitar shimmer and grown men shed tears at the sound of old Loft songs getting an airing.

The Loft: Riley & Coe Session 09.10.23 Precious Recordings
Babey and Strickland in St Denys Church

An unplanned Nancy and Lee style duet of Pete Astor solo hit One For The Ghost with Pete and myself sharing vocals was not a highlight by any means but very kind of him to invite me to do.

The gig was to raise money for Medical Aid for Palestinians and as well as playing for nothing, Pete gave all of his merch takings from the night to the cause  too. Over £400 was raised.

The wonderful Wonky Folk were as radically delicate and as tunefully brilliant as ever.  Action Painting! played a great short set and Pompey poets lead by Majid Dhana opened the proceedings.   A great venue and beautiful night.

Thanks to organiser Vic Ley, stand-in soundman Mark Estall and the church vicar and caretaker as well as all the artists and attendees.

The Wonky Folk at St Denys Church 1-6-2024 ‘I love this photo, it looks as beautiful as they sounded’

All words Ged Babey               Photos – MichelePaulPhotography


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