Though not quite a well-known as some of their mid-‘80s jangle pop
contemporaries, The June Brides were still a heady influence as bands like
Belle & Sebastian and the Aislers Set cited them as such in the late ‘90s.
After they disbanded leader Phil Wilson opted out of the music business. And
what, you ask, has he been doing for the past two decades? Hell if I know! He
did reappear with an EP of covers called Industrial
Strength (also on Slumberland) a few years back and also played some shows
at the time. Fast forward to 2010 and we have a full-length and I must say,
it’s a refreshing blast of pop energy and not what I would have expected.
Adding a few ex-Junies to the mix, including trumpet player Jon Hunter
who is working overtime (viola player Frank Sweeney is the other one), Wilson blasts through a
terrific set of pop songs in just over half an hour. Opening cut “Three Days” brings to mind
Arthur Lee and Love (as do a few others) while the majestic “Found a Friend” is
as uplifting as its title. Elsewhere the
cascading, choppy title track adds some nice power-pop bounce while “Pop Song
#32” is ebullient while marching along to the skip of the trumpet. The piece de resistance, however, the epic
final track, “I Own It” where a pleading Wilson philosophically looks over his
own life (“Every feeling I feel is real to me, I own it”) with a sublime tune
that would make Arthur Lee (and Stuart Murdoch) proud. Seriously, one of the
best songs of 2010.
While not having the star power of some folks he may have rubbed
elbows with back then (Marr, Gedge, etc.), Wilson has proved he belongs with the big
boys. He has laid down a true full-length here, all killer and no filler. He
should be darn proud.
DOWNLOAD: “Three Days”,
“I Own It” TIM HINELY