Friday, 15 January 2010


"Supernova" was released on 22nd July 1991, again it was available 4 formats 7", 12", CD Single and Cassette Single (I have actually seen the cassette for sale a few times.....memo to self.....must buy it one day). Another Milton/ Bassett joint effort that was totally different from the previous single. In fact that is something I noticed with all of "Five Thirtys" singles, they could almost be made by different bands. This almost sounds disastrous, as though the album would sound disjointed. But it didn't, it added to the albums charm. When I first heard "Supernova" I was, dare I say it, disappointed. I loved the wah-wah funk and groovy bass of the last single and probably wanted a "13th Disciple Part 2". It sounded a lot more, how can I put it, poppier than I expected. A few listens in however and the chorus had reeled me in. Altogether now...."You're a Supernova, it's too bad that you've gone. You're a Supernova, You can shine, but can you carry on?" Classic! The B-side was "Still Life", a tune that slowly burned it's way into your skull and could have been a definite contender the album. It reminds me of a softer bastard cousin to "Hate Male", catchier and less vitriolic (have I used that word right, I didn't get my CSE in English, bet you're all really surprised). Only three tracks on the 12" and CD (for the first and last time with "Five Thirty") this time round. The bonus track was "Somethings Got to Give". This track first appeared on the compilation "Happy Daze 2", but this was a re-worked version. I think I prefer the "happy Daze 2" version to be honest. The opening "screeching horses" guitar intro was better than the B-side and I thought the vocals sounded better and stronger, still it all made up for another cracking release by "Five Thirty".

"Supernova" boasted yet another cool cover. I remember there being some confusion as to whose face graced the cover. A "Five Thirty" newsletter confirmed it was Syd Barrett of early Pink Floyd fame and not glam god Marc Bolan. Just like it's predecessors "Abstain" and "Air Conditioned Nightmare" (but not "13th Disciple" for some reason) the 12" record came with additional artwork. This time a bright pink "5:30" logo on one side and the lyrics to "Supernova" on the other. It is a shame that the artwork did not include the lyrics for the other B-sides. Maybe I will sit down and write them down for you one day......

While compiling this blog I have included all the scans, good and bad, that I have got (and all of those donated to me-thanks guys). Most reviews are quite flattering but not all of the reviewers felt the same. Just where does the "chunky-knit pop" line come from in this review?

Oh.... I see...sorry about that Tara. Aran jumpers never looked so good....honest. Altogether now "You're a Superknitter...." or what about "Welcome to the Aran Conditioned Nightmare....". What about "Coming up for Knitwear"? I will leave it there for now. If The Sun newspaper ever need a headline writer they know where to come.....

A few live reviews from around the time "Supernova" was released:

More treats! I have raided me scrapbook again. Below are another selection of reviews, adverts and newsletters from the "Supernova" period (PS Anybody know if the Dave Treasure as titled in "The Dave Treasure Newsletter" is the Dave Treasure who played bass on "Once Around the Sun?). Click the piccies to make them larger:

Monday, 16 November 2009


"13th Disciple" was released on 13th May 1991 on all 4 formats available at the time , 7", 12", CD Single and Cassette Single (although yet again I have never come across the Cassette version in my searches). I remember way back in November 1989 a certain young Manc band played one of the coolest and funkiest tunes I had ever heard. The tune was of course "Fools Gold" with its dance drum beat and wicka wacka wah-wah guitars. The Manchester scene that followed mimicked this song and many others of "The Stone Roses" tracks but never seemed to reach the same dizzy heights "Fools Gold" had done with me previously. Then, whilst in no way imitating the Manchester scene, out came "13th Disciple".
This was "Fools Gold"....... but with a tune (imagine Jeremy Clarkson delivering that last line). The title track was another joint compostion, and unlike "Fools Gold" it was not just a groove (albeit a very good groove), it was catchy and it had melody and it had balls. It also had the best bassline since "The Jams- Start" (or "The Beatles- Taxman"...take your pick) matched tightly with Hoopers drumming. This song has been (and will continue) to be in my top ten all-time favourite songs. The B-sides weren't bad either. "Hate Male" was apparently written about the bad way the last single "Air Conditioned Nightmare" was handled by the record company. One internet biography of the band quoted lyrics from "Hate Male" when it said they were "disillusioned by their lack of success, Five Thirty unleashed the frustration in their songs, yelling, "This song ain't exactly what we'd call money but we don't care". The additional song on the 12" and CD single was "Out to Get in" and just like the title track and B-side was a joint composition. Just like other great British bands such as "The Jam" and "Oasis" here was another B-side fit to be released as a single. Some of the lyrics appeared more surreal than normal and I never really understood what the song was about....answers on a postcard please, nevertheless there were some cracking lines delivered amongst the melodies and hooks ("gazing into stupidity, unmoved by what is there"). Back then bands believed in value for money and another track was included with a cover of one of the best "The Beatles" tracks "Come Together". Four songs for 2 or 3 quid with fantastic artwork thrown in- absolute bargain! Whilst musically this cover version wasn't a million miles from the original, it was still dirty and groovy, but Tara's vocals really made it their own. According to a blog called "Box Set Go" (worth checking out ratfans) if you listen to the end of "Automatons" from the "Bed" album then you will hear that they start to lead into "Come Together", I think I agree (Incidentally, the first time I saw "Orange Deluxe" I thought they were playing "Come Together" but it the intro to "Atomic Junkie". Listening back to it now though it is not really that similar- hows that for a pointless anecdote!).

I have only discovered the videos to "Five Thirty" singles since Youtube has been around, I never saw any of them at the time of their release (coming from a poor Yorkshire, working class family there was no MTV in our house........and we lived in a shoebox in' middle o' road). The video to "Abstain" has been put on here earlier and the only other video I have seen in this one for "13th Disciple". It is so slick compared to the debut, very 60's retro rather than typical indie boys on a beach (sorry guys) of "Abstain". Any of you guys got any other videos, I believe there was one made for "Supernova" but not sure about "Air Conditioned Nightmare" and "You" (a scary fan-made one appeared on Youtube but it gave me nightmares to be frank). Anyway, enjoy "13th Disciple"...........

Incidentally, it appears that "Five Thirty" were being set up to break the coveted U.S. market as this single was given a release over there via the ATCO record label. I have an original CD of this which only contains an L.P. version and an edited version. This edited version is the same version of the mix that appears on the video which has a different outro to the version we are all used to. I am not sure what success the single had but it was followed up with "Strange Kind of Urgency" which was never released over here. The original CD I have of this only contains the title track (no bonus B-sides I'm afraid). Of course the album "Bed" was released over there too. The U.S. album CD released differed from our version as it had "Somethings Got to Give" and "Mistress Daydream" as the bonus tracks (not "Abstain" and "Catcher in the Rye" as the U.K. version).

Not all reviewers felt the same as me, as can be seen in this rag review. I think a lot of music journalists were busy listening to "shoegaze" bands who were in vogue at the time. Whilst some of the bands from the so-called "scene that celebrates itself" were of its time, it seems criminal that bands like "Moose" and "Slowdive" were so acclaimed whilst "Five Thirty" received lazy reviews like these. I can't remember the last time "Chapterhouses" "Whirlpool" graced my gramophone (get bent Grandad!).

Now , for your enjoyment, below are a mish-mash of reviews, adverts and newsletters from the "13th Disciple" period.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


"Air Conditioned Nightmare" was released on 5th November 1990 on all 4 formats available at the time , 7", 12", CD Single and Cassette Single (although I have never come across the Cassette version in my searches, but the adverts shown further down refer to MC which would be the "musicassette"). The title track was a joint composition between Milton and Bassett and production-wise seemed to be a step forward from "Abstain".
There seemed to more "Beatlesy" style harmonies present and the guitars a touch more psychedelic compared to the first release and generally there was a more produced feel to the record. Maybe this was the input from John Leckie, famous producer, who has worked with other great bands like "The Stone Roses", "Radiohead", "The Verve" and myriad others. Lyrically this single seems quite caustic, slating the people in power and mediocre grey lives. I particularly like the line "polite society would buy it and hang the corpse up in the Tate". And yet again "Five Thirty" showed that they were not just a singles band with a further three Bassett songs to back up the 12" and CD single. First, there was "Mistress Daydream" backing up the 7". One of the finest guitar intros and as most reveiewers of this record point out, it had more than a touch of the old Hendrix influence. The riffing and soloing almost seems continuous throughout without distracting the song in anyway. "The friendship you've been seeking is deep within your heart, but hatred is no remedy". "Judy Jones" is another energetic mod-stomp of a song, similar in vein to "Abstain" whilst "The Things That Turn You On" sees the band slow down for the first time. Starting off with acoustic finger picking and Bassett singing the verses, a flange (no sniggering boys) effect guitar then comes in for the chorus. The song builds up and Hoopers drums come in on the second chorus. There's loads of brilliant lines in this track and it would be hard to single out any, however , I will as it's hard to beat "The simple fact is you spend half your time shouldering arms with the Friday brigade, your smouldering charms on weekly parade". You get a real sense of the state this relationship is in.

As I mentioned previously, one of the great things with "Five Thirty" was their record covers. I absolutely loved the abstract collage effect on the cover of this release shown at the beginning of this blog. There always seemed to be something new each time you looked at it, wether it was the UFOs, rock stars (Jim Morrison peeping through a church window) or mini "Abstain" posters. There was something almost apocolyptic about it, but it remains my favourite record cover of all time. Yet again there was value for money by the inclusion of additional artwork within the record sleeve (as seen to the side here- dont forget to click on the pictures to see them much larger in a new window) as well as all the lyrics to this release. Great songs, great packaging.

The critics also seemed to love this release, well most of them anyway. Have a look at some of these articles although the third reviewer is less amoured with the band than the first two.

It was just after the release that I saw "Five Thirty" for the first time. It was 5th December 1990 and I remember the support band were "Thousand Yard Stare". Some of you may remember their song "Wonderment" which was included on "Happy Daze 2", a compilation CD containing loads of bands of the time that also included "Five Thirty" with a different version of "Somethings Got to Give". I also recall that I was quite shocked at the amount of people at the gig. I was expecting a packed to the rafters type gig, but unfortunately the people of Sheffield had not made the same effort as me and about thirty others (or probably just not heard the first two singles). However, "Five Thirty" still played a blistering gig which included all the tracks of the first two CD singles (except "The Things That Turn You On" which was likely a little too gentle, shall we say, to play live). There was also one other song played which I had not heard before. I am sure the song mentioned something about a monkey in it so maybe was "Out To Get In". Does anyone out there know if this song was likely to have had an outing at this time? At the end of the gig I parted with my dosh to buy two t-shirts. One was plain white with the psychedelic circle from the "Abstain" 12" artwork with "Abstain" lettering below. The second t-shirt was also plain white with "Air Conditioned Nightmare" cover artwork. I loved both t-shirts and wore them to death. My only regret was that I ran out of money so I did not buy a poster of the "Air Conditioned Nightmare" cover artwork.

Don't forget, as usual, you can click on the piccies to see them larger. The scans open up in a new window and you can see them in all their grainy quality.

I have added below an interview and live review, both from around the time "Air Conditioned Nightmare" was released. Hope you enjoy these articles and watch out for my blog about "13th Disciple" coming to an interweb near you very soon....