From an old record box: The Mission – Hands Across The Ocean

It’s another product of the ‘Jive Alive’ era.  I can’t think how else I would have ended up listening to this goth-indie-classic rock-folk mash-up of a band. Only a few years earlier I can remember filling out Smash Hits Polls uniformly trashing anything with a hint of gloom or rock. Worst bands and songs dominated by The Cure, The Cult, Bunnymen. I didn’t know who they were – never heard a song – but they were who you loved to hate when you adored the shininess of Whitney Houston and Five Star (whatever happened to THAT vinyl ?).

When it came to listening back I had only very vague recollections of the title track and much stronger memories of main b-side ‘amelia’.


Hardly surprising; ‘Hands Across The Ocean’ (catalogue number MYTH11) is no more than ok. Key moments are derivative: the opening apes the drum intro to ‘Inbetween Days’ and the chorus is drawn from Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘The Cutter’.

Its tale of lovers held apart by distance is mostly lyrically unimaginative – “last beat of my heart”, “tearing me apart” and “just can’t let it show” and “just can’t let it go”.  I do like the naked romanticism in places but it’s all a bit standard, except for the first verse where lovely, understated acoustic strum and drums allow Wayne Hussey’s fine voice space to shine.

‘Amelia’ is a different prospect: a plain-talking narrative of a father’s abuse of his daughter.  It’s delivered at pace with the snarl and spit of Hussey’s voice reinforced by the furious strum of the guitar. It was a core part of their live set and Hussey has since talked of his pride at how NME attempts to criticise it were rejected by the NSPCC.  In my memory I don’t recall many other artists of the time trying to tackle such a difficult issues.  Fair play to The Mission for trying to highlight the issue of child abuse back then.

I’ve nothing much to say about the cover of Lennon’s ‘Love’ that closes the record out. Yawn ?


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