Sheffield five piece The Suncharms were one of those bands, in more ways than one. You know the sort I mean – we all have them. They made the sort of tracks that, if you knew them, you loved them, pestered your friends about them, included them on all the cassettes you made that probably inhabit the back cupboards of the loves of your life (at least at the time) you were trying to impress, yet still, STILL they managed to fall through the cracks, and into the chasm of the missed classics, footnotes of pop. They’re the sort of band you hold up to friends in pub conversations as writing better pop music than anything in the charts today, yet still, criminally, sold very little and disappeared.
Part of why might be to do with the second reason they’re one of those bands. Positioning themselves between the c86/7 indie pop scene and shoegaze during their active years of 1989-1993, on one hand supporting the likes of Sarah Records stalwarts The Orchids and St Christopher, and on the other Curve, Cranes and label mates Catherine Wheel. Sadly all they really managed to do was to fall between the cracks of both scenes, which, judging by the anthology recently released by purveyors of fine and lost indie pop, Cloudberry Records, is a great shame.
The release comprises of fourteen tracks, including four demos, and sees the band throw up a mix of the two styles which certainly defined their support slots – perfect little pop vignettes, indie to the core, shimmering guitars and melodic basslines, much of it sounds up there with the best of those old Sarah releases, but scuffed up and – in some cases (Time will tell) slowed down and kicked through this aching feedback to give it this smudged look in My Bloody Valentine’s direction. With the shuffling drums and semi-whispered vocals there’s also nods to the Stone Roses (reflections) but also some good lovelorn / feel good anyway Wedding Present like stuff (One I see) that permeates through.
There are little gems to get your heart racing though, Tranquil Day (anything but tranquil as it turns out) is a rush, while Sort it out aches of those flexidisc times, but the two that stick out are the crushing She Feels and the brilliant, uplifting Sparkle, which does exactly what it says on the tin. News that the band have reformed and have their first gig on the horizon for over twenty years is a thing that should be celebrated, and you’ll need this little gem of a compilation in your life. If nothing else, it’s better than anything in the charts right now. Seriously. No, really……