Inspiral Carpets - Dung 4
'We were a garage band,' is what Clint Boon says of the Dung 4 demo tape that the Inspiral Carpets recorded back in 1987, now given an upgraded release more than a quarter of a century later. And it's true: Boon's trademark Farfisa organ immediately drew sonic parallels with the raw American bands of the 60s, while the 'Gloria'-style riff of 'Butterfly' and cover of '96 Tears' (included here as a bonus track) simply nails the deal. But their's was a north-western, indie take on the format that meant the Inspirals eschewed mere copyism for a sound equally informed by The Fall and other post-punk luminaries.
The youthful enthusiasm of guitarist Craig Gill (just turned 17 at the time of recording) collides with the older, savvier Boon who'd been around to see gigs by The Clash and Sex Pistols, as well as local legends like Joy Division. If you're a champion of 'the early stuff is the best' school of band analysis, then the Inspirals rarely bettered 'Keep The Circle Around', marrying a swirling keyboard riff with a Manchester sensibility ("You can see inside of me that soomthin' is going down") that set a template for later success. All those hit singles (11 in the Top 40!) would come after losing vocalist - and band founder - Stephen Holt, but the adrenaline rush of 'Joe' and the ballad 'Sun Don't Shine' were fine predictors of later glories. 27 years old, but it could've been recorded yesterday.