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Golden – Anglo American

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I think one thing I’ve established over the last couple of months is my love for classic English girl voices, and specifically girls who sound like they’ve been plucked from the Pick ‘n’ Mix counter at Woolworths and plonked straight onto Top of the Pops.  The queens of this particular sub-section of pop are of course Joanne and Susan Ann from out of the Human League, and for two schoolgirls who could only sing a bit and dance in a very particular way, they’ve had quite an influence.  From Bananarama through to Girls Aloud, every generation throws up a marvellous, slightly grumpy girl group which gets by on the strength of some severely amazing records and a certain mild cantankerousness.

But for every one of those there’s a least a dozen who didn’t make it, and a prime example is Golden. Canny, Lucy and Celina (whom you may recognise as the cover star of Saint Etienne‘s Foxbase Alpha album) appeared in 1992 on Icerink Records, the label run by Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs from the ‘tienne. Their debut single – produced by Bob and Pete – was the trance-y but also house-y Anglo American:

Feeling very much like a continuation of the Join Our Club sound, there is a lot to love about Anglo American – from the gossamer-thin vocals buried way back in the mix to the terrific Frankie Knuckles-esque piano and the way the entire thing is driven by a relentless hi-hat. It’s one of those records you just have to let yourself sink into and become sort of absorbed by. I know I was.

Of course this was all a little too strange for 1992 – the year of Boyz II Men, KWS and Curtis Stigers – nor was it a good time for girl groups. Shakespears Sister notwithstanding, (and they don’t count as a girl group anyway) you’ll find only En Vogue representing the genre in the top 100 hits of the year.

Golden lasted for just one more single, 1993’s Jarvis Cocker-penned Wishful Thinking, and then they were off, dreams of pop stardom laid aside. But as a footnote in pop history they’re very endearing – not least because on the back of the 12″ of Anglo American there was a section called “Golden salutes” where the girls listed all their musical influences. I can’t remember who they mentioned, but I do recall agreeing with every single one of them. All pop stars should do this.

Entered chart: did not chart

Who could sing this today and have a hit? Don’t say Nicola Roberts don’t say Nicola Roberts. NICOLA ROBERTS.

5 Comments »

  1. I agree – I always thought it was Crackers singing backup (misheard lyrics?) “the deserts turn to oceans and the clouds turn to seas”?

    Regardless, you’re on point re. Join Our Club – but only the original version, not the remixed one that turned up on every later SE comp.

    Were you in the UK at the time? If so, you might recall how stifling hot the spring of 1992 was. Join Our Club and Anglo American, with their claustrophobic, smoggy productions soundtracked it perfectly.

    Like

  2. Also see Oval, again of Ice Rink and definitely part of the family. It’s a bit more straight up pop, but Fantastique is worth a listen. If i recall, one of them was the sister to one of Shampoo?

    Their b-sides were definitely in the same melting pot as everything Golden did anyway.

    Like

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